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Fandom: Lord of the Rings
Title: By My Side
Rating: Australian M (adult concepts mentioned)
Disclaimer: The characters and environment of the Lord of the Rings are property of the Tolkien estate and are being used without permission in this work of fan fiction. No money is being solicited for or made from this work of fan fiction. The song "Lullabye" is owned by its creators, and is also being used without permission.
Author's Notes:
1) The verses above are from a song called "Lullabye". I don't know who wrote it, but I do know the song can be found on the CD "Celtic Twilight 3: Lullabies", sold by the Hearts Of Space label.
2) Yes, it's short. I write what the characters will say to me, and neither of the two involved here wanted to say too much about their wedding night.
3) You can't guess who the couple is? Go back and read the books!

By My Side...

Love, if you say you won't slip away
Then I will go dreaming of forever more
But I won't rest until I know that you'll be here
In the morning, by my side.

I dread the dawn
When I will wake and find you gone.
Please tell me you will stay.
Then sleep will come
I know my love has found a home
In your arms all my days.

(Lullabye, author unknown)

It surprises me. He looks so innocent, lying here next to me. All the strain, the tension, the fatigue he has been carrying for all these years, all of it falls away as he sleeps. He looks so much younger. I see once again the person I fell in love with, the face which appeared in my dreams of nights. The face I saw in my Grandmother's mirror, all those centuries ago.

Now the face and the Man who wears it lie beside me. I am encircled in his arms, I can feel his breath warm on my neck, feel the warmth of his body near mine.

We have kindled a child this night. A child of my choosing, for I retain the gifts of my heritage while I live. A boy, I hope; an heir. For now my life must be measured, and my life will come to an end. I am bound to a completion, an ending. I have no doubt I will regret this. But not now. Not with my husband beside me, his breath warm on my neck, his arms embracing me, the memory of his hands all over me. Not with the warmth of him still within me.

One day, this will not be possible. I know this, even as I try to ignore it. One day, this Man, so warm beside me now, will lie stiff and cold in death. Yet here and now, he is alive. Here and now, he is beside me. Here and now, I am loved, cherished, surrounded by his presence.

Here and now, I will sleep, and dream of other nights, encircled in his arms.

She sleeps. Curled within the circle of my arms, she sleeps, the brilliance of her eyes hidden for now. I had hoped for this day, wished for it with every fibre of my being. My love. My wife. I can hardly believe this has happened.

For a long time, my life has been a long litany of love and loss. First my father, although I can hardly remember him. Then so many different friends, so many companions. My mother chose to depart at a relatively young age for our kindred. Then the loss of Gandalf and Boromir on the quest, the loss of Halbarad at the Pelennor, even the loss of Denethor through his own despair. Although this is not the main reason I have wed her, I know this woman is going to outlive me. She will not be taken from me before time. Yet I also know the pain I will be inflicting upon her, when it is my time to leave. Bittersweet. The taste of our love, as it has always been. Yet for now, the sweet outweighs the bitter.

The feeling of her next to me is a comfort I thought I would never feel. This night is an ending and a beginning, all in one. Watching the sun rise with her beside me is a wonderful way to start our new life.

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