“Could you be happy, here, with me?” Éomer and Lothíriel, please? :3
Alternately titled “Let’s give them something to talk about”
Eomer has never felt anything less than proud of the land he comes from, nor its people. Oh, he knows they are not as “cultured” as the Gondorians, nor as graceful and poised as the Elves–but there are so many other qualities that they do possess that he admires.
All his life, he has been proud of their traditions. Proud of their resilience, their bravery in the face of hardships, the bonds that have been built across generations through hard work and steadfastness. Proud of the vein of honesty, of uncomplicated speech, that seems to have passed all of the other Races by, except perhaps the Dwarves.
He can only stifle a groan as yet another of his riders sweeps his betrothed onto the floor, hands too familiar and grasping at her waist. Dances in Gondor are much more sedate, with only the barest touches between a man and a woman.
He knows Lothiriel is not used to his riders’…exuberance, but her smile doesn’t falter. Neither do her feet–her grace is something he’s admired in her from the start. Not only in her motions, but also in what she says, and how she says it. Her ease of speech and manner is one of the reasons he’d agreed to an arranged marriage in the first place. Well, that coupled with her sweetness and beauty, but he’d been far from lovestruck, like Eowyn and Faramir, or envious of the easy intimacy between Aragorn and Arwen, so long together.
In direct contrast to Lothiriel’s palpable happiness are the disapproving looks his men are receiving from nearly every other Gondorian lady present. Lady Geldis, Elphir’s wife, looks near to fainting, especially when the rider–Grimbold, who is nearly double Lothiriel’s age–lifts the princess with ease.
His men’s familiarity should not bother him. It is a mark of how much they have come to like their soon-to-be Queen, a reflection of the hard work Lothiriel has put in to learning their customs. But as he looks out at the hall, wood-beamed and packed to the brim, the knowledge of how…rough it all must seem to the Gondorians is what stands out the most to him.
She has not said–she would never say, his polite, kind, bride-to-be–that she dislikes anything about Edoras, but the expressions on her country-women's’ faces say it all. How uncouth they find his people, how sparse the Golden Hall is in comparison to all of Minas Tirith’s finery–
“Bema, sire,” comes Eothain’s voice, “looking like that, you’d think you were preparing to clean out the stables tomorrow, not for your wedding.”
Eomer offers his marshal–and childhood friend–a fearsome scowl.
Eothain, the bastard, is unfazed, flopping ungracefully onto the bench beside him. “Come now, Eomer. What’s got your feathers ruffled?”
“Your meddling,” Eomer grumbles, not wanting to share the true reason for his suddenly foul mood.
“Tch,” the other man scoffs. “You have had years to grow accustomed to that. It is something else.”
Eomer takes a long sip from his mug, willing his friend to let the issue go. As if on cue, there is another burst of raucous laughter; Gimli has entered into yet another drinking contest against Legolas, and a group of Eorlingas are clearly enjoying the spectacle that is an inebriated Dwarf. A pair of Gondorian women are looking on as well, though their expressions are closer to horror than ones of amusement.
His scowl deepens. Eothain follows his gaze and gives an exasperated sigh. “Lothiriel is not like her country women, Eomer. You would not have agreed to marry her otherwise.”
Irritated that he’s been so easily read, he mutters, “She is not like them now, during her first few days in Edoras, but who is to say she will not grow tired of our rustic hall? Our uncouth manners, our boisterous celebrations–”
Of me, he thinks, but does not say.
Eothain pinches the bridge of his nose. “Eomer, son of Eomund, I have rarely had cause to say what I am about to say to you in our many years of friendship, but I say it to you now: you are a fool. I suspect I know the reason why, which makes it understandable, but Bema, Eomer! If you truly believed any of that, this betrothal would never have become anything more than a suggestion from Imrahil’s mouth. You do yourself a disservice and Lothiriel an insult, for thinking such a thing.”
Eomer bristles. Nervousness, insecurity–neither are emotions he is accustomed to feeling, and here is his marshal, his friend, ridiculing both things! “Do not mock me for being apprehensive–”
“I do not mock you for having a bridegroom’s jitters,” Eothain interrupts. “I am trying to make you see you are thinking like an utter blockhead–”
“Would you two care to explain,” comes Eowyn’s voice, sounding decidedly unamused, “why you look like you’re about to start brawling in the midst of a celebratory feast?”
Wincing, both men turn to face her. She and Lothiriel stand, arm in arm, both eyeing them closely. But where in Eowyn’s face Eomer can see exasperation, in Lothiriel’s he only sees concern.
“Because your brother is a stubborn fool,” Eothain mutters, earning a dark look from Eomer.
“Nothing new, then,” Eowyn answers succinctly, receiving a black look of her own. “You’ve been neglecting your guests, Eomer King.”
He hears the reproach there, and the warning. Eomer cares for neither of them.
“I will do as I see fit, Eowyn–”
“Then perhaps you would come with me to take some fresh air?” Lothiriel cuts in, likely knowing a brewing siblings’ spat when she sees one.
He can scarcely refuse her and finds that he does not want to, Fresh air might help him shake this uncomfortable feeling. He stands, pausing just long enough to let Lothiriel loop her arm through his, before they make their way to one of the side doors of Meduseld.
Elphir frowns at them, but Lothiriel shakes her head, managing to ward off her oldest and stuffiest brother with a stern look.
“Honestly,” she grumbles, “our wedding is tomorrow. I cannot imagine what harm they think it will do now, for us to have a moment alone.”
Eomer snorts a laugh, despite his ill-humor. To say that Lothiriel’s three older brothers were over-protective would be an understatement of the biggest sort. In their nearly year-long betrothal, he and Lothiriel have had to scrape and scheme for any sort of privacy. Not that they had ever truly needed it–they were not a love match, after all, and the privacy they sought was more to have conversations than exchange stolen kisses.
The slightly cool air of Edoras in summer is refreshing after the hall’s heat. Even in the dim light provided by the moon, the plains of the Mark stretch out before them, lush and green.
“It is very different than the sea,” Lothiriel says, abruptly, “but I think it lovely all the same.”
“You will not miss it?” He asks. Dol Amrothians love of the sea is one of their most well-known traits, and in this, Lothiriel is no exception.
“Of course I will,” she answers, turning her face towards his. “But its absence does not lessen Rohan’s beauty.”
“Nor do my people’s lack of refinement highlight the opposite in yours, I suppose,” he says, earlier irritation returning. She is not the right target for his displeasure, but he cannot help himself. His temper has always been one of the worst things about him, rising rapidly and choking out logical thought when truly stoked.
Lothiriel’s brows draw together in obvious confusion for a moment before something like realization dawns on her face. “Is that what you fear? That I will forever be comparing Rohan to Gondor?”
As soon as she says it, he hears how ridiculous the thought truly is. Lothiriel has been nothing but accepting of the differences in their cultures, of the traditions she has seen thus far before their wedding. “No. It is only…” He falters, feeling exceedingly foolish and not wanting to hurt her. Bema, he does not think he could forgive himself, were he to hurt her. She has been kind, and understanding, and–
Oh, Bema, he realizes, the true reason for his irrational anxiety dawning on him. I love her.
“Your life here will not be what it would have been, if you remained in Gondor,” he says, trying to keep his revelation from his voice. “We are more involved with labor, with nature, with–”
“Eomer,” she interrupts, gently, “I know all of this. And I have consented to being your wife and queen, with all of the roles that will entail.” She bites her lip, looking suddenly shy. “Have I done something to make you doubt me?”
“No!” Eomer says, reaching to take her hands in his. “Bema, Lothiriel, I am making a mess of this. I only–I had never thought to ask, if you were prepared, if you knew, if–”
Her brow furrows again and he’s struck, not for the first time, but certainly for the first time that he will admit it to himself, how beautiful she is. How precious.
“I should have asked you this, your first day in the Mark,” Eomer murmurs, trying to ignore the sudden spike in his pulse when she threads her fingers through his. “Could you be happy, here? With…with me?”
Lothiriel’s expression shifts from confusion to realization to exasperation rapidly, though Eomer is fairly certain he’s not mistaken in the tinge of fondness on her face as well.
“Eothain was right,” she says, “you are a fool.”
Eomer frowns. “I am trying to–”
She silences him with a finger to his lips. “You are a fool because you needn’t ask such a thing, Eomer! I would be happy in a midden, in a barren wasteland, in Mordor, of all places, as long as you were with me. And Rohan is certainly a step up from any of those.”
It is his turn to be confused. “I–I do not understand.”
Lothiriel huffs, beautiful even in her irritation. “Then let me put it in simple terms: I love you. If I had my way I would never be parted from you again. There is nothing anyone could offer me in Gondor that could change that.”
Eomer swallows. Words feel beyond him, but he thinks he may manage a hoarse, “What?”
Her face crumples, all earlier bravado gone. In a tiny voice, she says, “Even if you do not feel the same, I need you to know that I am honest in this–”
Oh, Bema, there are tears in her eyes and it aches, to see her so hurt.
“Eothain may be right,” he says, squeezing her hands until she lifts her head to meet his eyes, “that I am a fool. But I am not so much a fool as to not love you, Lothiriel.”
Her eyes widen. “You–you–”
“Love you,” he finishes, leaning down to press his forehead to hers, “and perhaps your brothers were right to worry, this time, for now I intend to kiss you.”
Lothiriel gives a tiny laugh, pressing upwards on her tiptoes and winding her arms around his neck. “I think you had better, Eomer King.”
(There are furious whispers amongst the Gondorian contingent the next day, of the King and now-Queen of Rohan being caught kissing like teenagers in one of Medusled’s gardens the night before.
“Young love,” Gandalf chuckles.
“Absolutely disgraceful,” murmurs Lady Adrahil, who was, should the truth be known, still rather miffed that Rohan’s King had not chosen her daughter as a bride.
“Thank Bema,” mutters Eowyn, smiling in spite of herself as a grumbling Eothain slides Faramir a stack of coins across the table.
“Another reason to prefer Rohan to Gondor,” Lothiriel whispers, teasing, her breath ghosting warmly over Eomer’s ear. “This would be a scandal for months there, rather than a cause for celebration.”
“Hm,” Eomer hums, grinning widely when she shivers against his side, “how bad would it be if I were to kiss you here and now?”
Lothiriel smiles. “Shall we find out?”
The gossip about the King and Queen of Rohan’s wedding lasts for three years, two months, and eight days after the fact in Gondor.
In Rohan, no one bats an eye. The King and Queen have been caught at worse, now, after all.
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Eomer/Lothiriel, 16) things you said with no space between us
[A little teaser :) ) ) )]
“Stay down, I say!”
Lothíriel has little choice but to stay down with this mountain atop her, but she obeys nonetheless. Dol Amroth has echoed with the shriek of fell beasts and their riders more than once in these recent dark days. Lothíriel would know to keep down, keep still, keep silent in this terrible shadow even without her training.
The man hiding her from the Shadow of the East in his own shadow is huge, smells of leather and soap and strongly of horse, and his hair is spilling forward over his shoulders so far that it tickles the ground near her face. It’s very fair, and also smells of soap and of horse.
“I am sorry for the rough handling,” he says, his voice a harsh rasp, tight with the effort of resisting the panic the shrieking of the Dark Rider sets in the hearts of even the bravest men. “But these things-”
“I have watched my father and my brothers fight them, my lord,” she says. She would have fought them herself, fought alongside Ada and her brothers, but there is no space for her in any of the Mahtari. Guilty though she feels for it, irresponsible and dangerous though the very thought of it is, because to hope for it is to hope for the war to go on... she hopes to someday ride into battle.
Her guardian shifts above her. His armour grates on hers a little. She hopes it does not grate on her bow.
“You are the Princess, then,” he says, rising to his feet as the Nightmare passes. She rolls, and is surprised by the hand he offers her.
Rohir. Important Rohir, by the beautiful quality of his armour. Engraved and enamelled, almost as though he rides not only one of their fine horses, but-
“Éomer King,” she guesses, and by his chagrined blush, she guesses right. “Well met, sire.”
“And you, Your Highness,” he says, smiling a little when she reaches up to take his hand. “Your father and brothers have become friends to me, at Pellenor and since.”
“I had heard of your loss, sire,” she says, genuine sympathy warming her - she cannot imagine losing any of her family, even without the added burden of authority that he must bear alongside his grief-
His hand is very warm. His hand is huge, and very warm, and he is wearing no gauntlets.
The heat travels up the length of Lothíriel’s arm, a shock of connection that makes her jump.
Éomer King, scion of the House of Éorl, is gaping at her like a fish.
“I hope,” she says, before she can stop herself, “that you do not expect me to change my armour, sire.”
They are due to ride out to the Black Gate on the morrow. Perhaps Lothíriel will have her chance to ride to war in a Mahtar after all.
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