“Fëanáro,” his mother looked content and happy and his father’s eyes were glowing with excitement. It immediately made Fëanáro more inclined toward accepting whatever his mother was about to say without too much fuss or arguing, “you are going to become an older brother.”
“Oh,” he said, surprised at this. It wasn't what he was expecting. After a moment of ruminating on the relevation he looked at her stomach expectantly. It was as flat as it had been the day before. His eyebrows furrowed, women who had babies always seemed to be rounded at the front. But not his mother.
Perhaps because she was the Queen?
“In about a year,” his mother added with a small chuckle, and then putting aside the embroidery hoop that held her latest work, she made space for him and gestured for him come into her embrace. Obliging and always happy to be near her, Fëanáro crawled into her lap. Soon he would be too big to sit in her lap, he knew, for his father had mentioned that Fëanáro was growing swiftly. So he treasured the experience while it lasted, and did not pass up a opportunity to cuddle close to her, his head leaning against Míriel’s shoulder.
“Will it be a boy or a girl?”
“I do not know yet,” his mother confessed, “but I thought I would make it a surprise for you both anyway.”
His father made a faint noise of amusement.
“How am I suppose to make a present for the baby then?” Fëanáro immediately asked, the thought of not knowing until the baby was born annoying. He knew that like an itch he could not scratch, or clothing slightly to large for him, that it would bother and niggle and nag at him. He had to know.
And of course he would have to make a present for his new sibling. When they were born would be their begetting day wouldn't it? You always gave people presents on their begetting day. How could he make a proper present if he didn't even know if he would be making a present for a brother or a sister?
“That is the reason why so many infant toys are gender neutral,” Míriel kissed him on the forehead, “and I doubt the baby will mind, so long as it is a gift from their older brother who made it with them in mind.”
The pregnancy was a very odd affair. Fëanáro wasn't sure of what to make of it. Life simply...went on save for a feeling of rising anticipation as the seasons slowly exchanged places. His mother's stomach did begin rounding, and it rounded, she became a little slower. She also took to naping a lot, and wearing looser gowns, and whenever he came upon her dozing, she reminded Fëanáro of the owls he saw sometimes tucked up in the trees around Formenos. There were no owls in Tirion, but in Formenos where the Summer Palace lay in the shadows of the surrounding mountains, shielded from the invasive light of the Trees and the sweltering summer heat, the silver birds could often be found asleep with their feathers all fluffed up around them in the thick wooded groves, waiting for the stars that ruled Formenos' sky to dim for the night.
Despite her perchant for dozing through the middle if the day, Míriel's somnolent state did not stop her knitting and sewing. It certainly did not stop her from coming into his rooms to see what he was doing, ever curious as to what her 'Nárenya'. In fact her visits increased, she said that she found the noise of him writing or working out equations soothing. She would settle beside him at his desk, embroidering a wardrobes worth of miniature clothing, with occasionally one of his father's robes thrown in for variety, while he explained to her what he was studying.
Fëanáro tried to divine the gender of his little sibling in the embroidered little gowns and slippers his mother was making, but the motifs could be worn by both a male and female infant. The little cardigans she knitted (for babies apparently could get cold very, very easily) were always a soft cream or other light colours that do not suggest one gender or another either. (She made up for the bland background with the brilliance of the colours in the patterns she knitted into the hems; vivid scarlets, cobalts, emeralds, and marigolds flowing her needles into knotted patterns she made look easy to create.)
Fëanáro denied that he was growing more and more excited as the months progressed, but as they drew closer and closer there was a buzz in the air that seemed to affect everyone in the palace, and all he wanted to know was what it would be like to have a sibling, and whether he would have a brother or a sister.
When his mother went into labour, Fëanáro was finishing the rattle that he had made for the baby; carefully carved amber with smoothed silver jointing and nary a sharp edge anywhere. (Infants were very fragile, his mother and father had been impressing on him, along with many of the Lords and Ladies who had talked to him.) Rúmil, the bad influence of his mother (well that was what Finwë called him) came to get him, and stood patient and quiet just inside the door until he was sure Fëanáro was done.
Fëanáro almost didn’t forgive him for that, even when his kinsman raised an eyebrow and told him to stop fuming, and that that a woman’s labour could take some hours and so there was no use rushing to simply wait outside the room.
However as in many, many things, Rúmil turned out to be wise and truth telling, for they sat for two hours outside of the rooms Míriel was in. Fëanáro jumped occasionally at the faint noises of pain he was sure he could hear, but the walls of the palace were so well insulated that mostly he sat in a unsettling quiet until Rúmil began to test his memory of serati.
Fëanáro was clumsily debating the draw backs of the script by the time the door opened. He looked up immediately, voice squeaking to an immediate silence at the yearned for click of the lock. He saw his father standing there, looking distinctily dishevelled and unkingly but smiling.
“Come Fëanáro,” his father took his hand after Fëanáro had almost tackled him over runing to embrace him. He lead Fëanáro into the room, Rúmil murmuring he would be back in an hour to give them time. They walked through the small solar where several maids were packing laundry bags of linens, and it was only his father's hand around his that stopped Fëanáro sprinting towards the bed where his mother was a pale wisp against the dark pillows at her back.
Her arms were full of the blanket she had spent the past few months embroidering lavishly. There was an awkward moment where he had to scramble onto the bed, the linens slipping under his hands. In the end his father had to push him up onto the matress proper, and then Finwë followed, forming a protective wall against his back. Fëanáro leaned over to look at the bundle in his mother’s arms.
What lay within the blanket was very small, and very scrunched. He looked unsurely at his mother. This was what they had spent the past year excitedly waiting for?
“This is your sister,” Míriel straightened herself up as much as she could, wincing, and his father was suddenly arranging Fëanáro like a doll. A pillow was shoved behind his back so he was sitting straight, and his arms were held out, and positioned in a manner that felt awkward. Into his arms the blanket bundle was put, with far more weight than he expected, though it still felt like it weighed barely anything.
His sister had a pink face, and her hair was puffy and curly, a perfect black like Finwë’s and Fëanáro’s.
“Her name is Finëamírë,” Míriel said, “for she will be as dexterous and as skilled in hand as the both of you, and bright as the jewels she wears.”
Fëanáro nodded unsurely. Finëamírë; dexterous jewel, he thought, was a fitting name for a Princess. Though his sister didn't look very much like how he'd imagined a princess might look, or a little sibling for that matter.
Then he felt the blanket bundle slip in his arms and hugged it closer in alarm because, heart immediately pounding at the thought of dropping the new baby they'd been waiting for so long for. There was a small squeak. He peeked down into kitten grey eyes that stared past him, unfocused (Which worried him.)
The tiniest of hands unfurled from a crack in the blankets, fisting in the embroidery of bright blue birds nesting amongst green and gold leaves.
How tiny, Fëanáro thought, awed and smitten all at once. How tiny but so perfectly formed already.