Bedtime Routine

by MerryK

Faramir and Eomer sat comfortably by a roaring fire, momentarily silent as they downed the last of their wine, smiling contentedly at the way the day had gone. This ease and composure, however, was soon broken by pattering feet behind their chairs. Turning, they beheld three figures in white standing at the doorway.

"Mama did not tell us our bedtime story and tuck us in," said the eldest, little Theowyn.

Faramir groaned. "Children, your Mama was very tired, and went to bed hours ago."

"But we cannot sleep," said the older of the little boys.

"Very well," said Faramir, "I will come and tuck you in."

"No!" said Theowyn firmly. "You cannot do it, Adar."

"What is this?" asked Faramir, slightly indignant.

"Mama has told us many times that the only good storytellers come from the House of Eorl, so you cannot do it."

Faramir's jaw sagged a little, and Eomer chortled. "They are certainly your and Eowyn's brood!"

Faramir looked at his determined children, and then at Eomer who was grinning, and then he smiled. "Of course, children, I understand your reasons perfectly. Therefore, your uncle Eomer, the only other member of the House of Eorl here present, will be glad to tuck you in and tell you a story."

"He will do, I suppose," conceded Theowyn.

Eomer was speechless in shock, and he spluttered as Faramir patted him on the shoulder. "Be off now, my master storyteller."

"Please please Unkky 'Mer?" begged the smallest one, sucking his thumb and looking up with big blue eyes framed by golden curls. No one had yet resisted wee Turion, and Uncle 'Mer did not break that tradition.

"Very well," he sighed, and the children at once grabbed his hands and dragged him upstairs.

Once there, however, he put up his hands and said: "But I have no idea what to do."

"You must tickle us until we laugh, and then, if it is Tuesday, play pillow-fight with us, but otherwise just pull up our blankets and then tell us a story," explained Theowyn.

"It is Wednesday," said Eomer relieved.

"Tickle us, tickle us!" shouted Beren, the older boy, jumping up and down. A roguish light came into Eomer's eyes, and suddenly growling, he leaped on the bed and started tickling them all quite mercilessly. Shrieks of laughter and happy squeals came wafting down the stairs to where Faramir sat triumphant in his chair. He smiled to himself, and made a toast to Uncle 'Mer.

Eomer found it fairly easy to go along with this, having done it once or twice with his own children, and he was even having fun, when suddenly Beren fought off "the tickle monster" with a pillow. Forgetting that it was Wednesday, his sister joined in, and Eomer found himself pummeled with fat feather pillows.

"No one beats the House of Eorl so easily," he cried, and picking up the other two pillows, he fought them off with prowess. Just as he had pinned Beren and wrested the pillow from his hand, however, Theowyn leaped on his back. Giving a mock-growl which sent her into more peals of laughter, he rolled her off.

Unfortunately for him, she landed near Turion, who went off balance and fell crashing to the floor all of a sudden. All play stopped as his eyes went wide in shock, and then his thumb came out of his mouth, and he began to wail. The "tickle monster" was now abashed, and he quickly scooped up the little one with a concerned and furrowed brow.

"There, are you all right there, little man?" he asked, and looked the babe all over for injuries. But Turion seemed merely to be upset, and Eomer had no idea how to carry on.

"Make him stop," moaned Beren, covering his ears with both hands.

"You have to make him smile again, or we shan't sleep," reminded Theowyn.

"Can I not bring your father in?" pleaded Eomer, holding the baby gingerly. "I have no idea what to do!"

"No, you cannot! Be a man and do it yourself."

Eomer noted grimly that that particular line was an old one of Eowyn's, and he resolved to make the little one smile again if it killed him, which it very well might if Eowyn ever heard that he had knocked her son to the floor.

"Come on there," said Eomer, smiling widely and stupidly, "who's going to be a happy baby?"

Certainly not Turion.

"Now, now there, who's Mama's precious little pumpkin-poo, who is, who is?" cooed Eomer, trying another tack, and smiling all the while.

Theowyn and Beren giggled at the sight, but Turion wailed.

"Where's the baby?" asked Eomer, covering his eyes. "There he is!" he pronounced, smiling and ducking in close to Turion.

The baby's wails ceased as the great bearded face came close enough to brush his nose with the whiskers, but he recovered from the shock shortly, and wailed.

"Agh," moaned Eomer, "it is hopeless." Then, remembering Turion's thumb sucking habit, he pulled at straws for an idea, and, taking his hand, put Turion's thumb into his own great mouth.

"Mm," he said, smiling and sucking.

Turion's eyes would have popped out of his head if they had gotten any bigger, but he stopped crying.

"Mm," he said again, and then Turion pulled back his hand. Eomer braced himself for wails, but they did not come. Turion hesitated for a moment, but then tentatively put out his fingers. Eomer, catching on quickly, put them in his mouth and sucked on them dutifully.

"Mm, tasty fingers," he said. The hint of a smile went over the baby's face, and then he pulled back his fingers again.

"No," whined Eomer. "I want my fingers back."

Turion gave a drooly grin, and put his fingers back. Becoming once again a mock-monster, Eomer gently devoured them, and said: "Mm, my fingers!"

"Mine!" said Turion, and pulled them back.

"No, mine," said the "finger monster", and devoured them again, making chewing noises.

Turion giggled. "Mine!" he squealed.

"No, mine!" responded Eomer.



"Mine!" And here Turion buried his fingers in his nightgown.

Eomer mock-howled and wept. "My fingers are gone," he wailed. Turion shrieked joyously and revealed the fingers again. Eomer whooped with exaggerated joy and devoured them again.

Just then, Elboron walked in. He was rather sleepy, and the sight of his very large uncle—eating his baby brother's fingers!—was too much for him.

"What are you doing!" he gasped, and ran forward, fists raised. "Adar, come quick!" he called.

"No, no," begged Eomer. "You will ruin it!"

"You were eating him!" Elboron's face was wide-eyed and traumatized.

"I was not!" said Eomer indignantly. "I was merely pretending to."

"It's true," said Beren.

"Unkky!" called Turion, and reaching up, took hold of Eomer's bushy golden beard.

"No, mine!" responded "unkky" quite seriously, trying to detach the little hands.

"Mine!" crowed Turion in response, enjoying this game far too much.

"Remind me never to teach you anything," muttered Eomer to the little one with a sigh, as he successfully removed the painful death-grip on his beard.

Faramir came running up the stairs three at a time as soon as he heard Elboron's frantic call, without any idea of what he would find.

"What is going on!" he cried as he entered.

The scene was hardly peaceful: pillows were strewn all over the floor, Turion's cheeks were still tearstained, and none of the others were in their bed.

"Nothing," said Eomer grinning. "Just tucking them into bed."

Faramir looked at the pillows. "It's not Tuesday," he said.

Eomer's eyebrows went up. "It is not, is it!" he gasped, and then turning to the children, glared at them most intimidatingly. "Tsk, tsk, little ones, how could you deceive your good uncle so?"

"Sorry," they murmured.

Faramir, seeing that Eomer did indeed have the situation under control, quietly left.

"Now a story!" said Theowyn.

"Only if you are in your beds!" demanded Eomer.

"But we all have to be on one bed to tell the story," said Theowyn.

"Why?" sighed Eomer, wondering what new mischief his sister could have added.

"Because if it gets scary, we have to hold on tight to you."

"Oh," said Eomer. "Very well, on Turion's bed, then."

Soon Eomer found himself sitting cross-legged on a bed, with Turion curled up in his arms, Beren snuggled next to him on his left, and Theowyn sitting expectantly right in front of him. Elboron, ten, sat more decorously on the edge of the bed.

"What sort of story do I tell?" asked Eomer.

"The sort of story we like," said Theowyn.

"What sort is that?"

"Pirate stories!" said Beren eagerly.

"With Adar in them," added Theowyn.

"Yaya," said Turion, drooling.

Taking a deep breath, Eomer began: "Once upon a time—

"Uncle 'Mer, that is the beginning that Mama says only the worst storytellers use."

"Yes, and I have a few words to say to your Mama tomorrow. Very well then: In a place not far from here, there were once, er, three children."

"No, four!" demanded Beren.

"Four, then, and they were all very good, and obeyed all their relations when it was time to go to bed. Except for one, bad little—"

"Elessar!" suggested Theowyn.

Grinning at the idea of his friend's face if he could hear this, Eomer continued: "All except for bad little Elessar. One night, after he was told to go to bed, he didn't do as he was told, but snuck out of the house and went down to the sea. Suddenly, though, a pirate ship sailed up and captured him. The name of the pirate ship was—was—"

"Can't you think of a name?" asked Theowyn. "Mama always can."

"The name of the pirate ship was—the Red Sea—"

"Thkwiwewl!" said Turion triumphantly.


"Squirrel, Uncle 'Mer," translated Theowyn.

Eomer snorted. "The pirate ship cannot be called the Red Sea Squirrel!"

"Why not? I like it," said Beren.

"It's all right," admitted Theowyn.

"Fine," said Eomer. "The pirate ship the Red Sea Squirrel kidnapped bad little Elessar, and were going to take him to Pelargir to sell to the other pirates..."

Beren shivered.

"...but Elessar's famous dad, Prince Faramir of Ithilien—"

"Wait!" said Theowyn. "If Adar is in this, then the bad little boy has to be named Beren, not Elessar."

"Hey!" protested Beren. "That's not fair! Why not Elboron or Turion?"

"Excuse me, but I am the master storyteller, and I say that the boy's name is Elessar," said Eomer, his pride somewhat damaged by all this interruption.

"Well, it might be all right," said Theowyn, "if Elessar dies in the end, because then he wouldn't be like a real brother."

Eomer choked, but regained himself, and continued: "And so Prince Faramir snuck on board the pirate ship, and used his children to talk all the pirates to death, and so rescued bad little Elessar and brought him home, where he was never disobedient again. The End."

"It was not too bad," said Theowyn.

"Too short," said Beren.

"Like Unkky 'Mer" said Turion, reaching for the beard again.

"All right, that is all Uncle 'Mer is doing tonight. You have to go to sleep now."

"Aww," they all whined, but did not disobey.

Eomer pulled up the covers for each one, planted a goodnight kiss on each forehead, and then turned out the lights. Before leaving though, he looked back tenderly, sighed not unhappily, and left them to sleep soundly.

Rejoining Faramir, he said nothing at first.

"Well, how did it go?" asked Faramir.

"I rather enjoyed it," said Eomer. "However, my children do not have nearly such an elaborate bedtime routine."

Faramir grinned rather mischievously. "It was all Eowyn's idea."

"Yet," said Eomer, grinning back. "My children do not have an elaborate bedtime routine yet. However, when I go home again, I shall directly inform Lothiriel to create one that only those with relatives from Dol Amroth may perform. Then, I shall invite you to visit me in Edoras."

Faramir eyed him suspiciously. "You would not. You said you enjoyed it."

"I said I rather enjoyed it. But I shall enjoy getting revenge none the less." Eomer's eyes twinkled as he downed another glass of wine.

The End