Title: Rambling Man
Summary: As Dírhael anticipates Arathorn's proposal to Gilraen, he and Ivorwen reflect upon their own courtship.
Author's Note: With thanks to Zopyrus for the rapidfire gchat-beta and convincing me this was worth putting up <3.
Dírhael shaded his eyes against the sunset, searching the thinning crowd for Gilraen. The midsummer celebrations had finally died down, and he had hoped to have a word with his daughter, but she was nowhere to be seen. He could not fathom where she had gotten off to, but once he realized that Arathorn was missing as well, he decided he would rather not know.
He shook his head. Arathorn's courtship of Gilraen had been the chief subject of gossip in the Angle for weeks, and the chief source of contention in his own home for even longer than that. Dírhael knew it was only a matter of time before Arathorn asked him for his daughter's hand in marriage. Ivorwen had finally talked him around to agreement, and it was clear how badly Gilraen herself wished for the union to take place. Still, to say he was happy about the situation was more than a bit of an exaggeration...
Ivorwen took a seat behind him and ran her hands over his shoulders in reassurance.
"Calm yourself," amusement threaded through her voice. "He is an honorable man."
"I am perfectly calm," Dírhael grumbled.
"Aye, and that is why you feel as stiff as a board," she teased. "Relax."
He sighed and settled into her touch.
"Do you remember when we first met?" she asked, and Dírhael could imagine the small smile playing on her face.
"I do not think you will ever let me forget," he said.
"You were so confident, barging into my father's house and demanding to know if he had been the one to leave a pile of venison on your doorstep—asking if this was how everyone in those parts greeted newcomers to their village.”
"Little did I know it had not been Gilbarad's doing, but his daughter's," Dírhael chuckled. "I learned my lesson after that day."
"I could not believe I had not noticed you before that moment," she said, "no one danced better than you at the festivals. It was all I could do not to throw myself at you every other song."
"I had to make myself stand out somehow," Dírhael teased, "I had such competition for your affections in those days."
"And then your father was so opposed to us," she murmured, lost in memory. "He did not want his son chasing after the wild-haired woman who was better known for her skills as a hunter and healer than for the qualities needed in a wife."
"You won him over in the end," Dírhael said.
Ivorwen laughed. "After a fashion, I suppose. Still, if it had not been for the incident with the wargs I do not think he ever would have given his blessing."
"Perhaps not." Dírhael had been nearly gored through by one of the fell beasts, and it had been Ivorwen who had brough him back from the edge of death in the Houses of Healing. It had been neither the first nor the last time he found himself in his wife's care, but his father, with his strange sense of honor, had only seen Ivorwen as worthy of his son after that moment.
"I suppose I did not need to wait for his approval," he mused with a twinge of old guilt. "I was fully of age by then--his acceptance was not necessary."
"Yes it was," Ivorwen said softly. "There was already enough strife between the two of you--it was worth it to keep the peace, and you know it better than I do. Besides, it was well worth the wait.”
Dírhael looked out upon the field, hazy in the midsummer sunset. Children ran back and forth chasing lightning bugs, with those fathers who were present laughed with them through their triumphs and frustrations.
"I will not deny my daughter her choice," he said at last. "I am not my father."
"No," Ivorwen murmured, "no, you most certainly are not."
He finally turned to face his wife, and she smiled warmly as she took his hand.
"They will be happy, Dírhael," she said with a certainty he wished he could feel. "Whatever else these next years bring, that much I do know."
He raised an eyebrow. “Well, I am glad at least one of us has confidence in that. Still, she is so young…”
“They will have their own trials, as we had ours,” she leaned against him. "But all told, we did quite well for ourselves, don't you think?"
"That we did," Dírhael gave her a warm kiss. "That we most certainly did."