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Comfortable by Gwaelinn

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Table of Contents

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Story notes:
Genre: FPH
Characters: Gamling, Éomer, OFC, Lothiriel
Rating: NC-17
Timeline: Third age—War of the Ring
Setting: Rohan
Warnings: heartache

Disclaimer: All recognizable characters and locations are the sole property of Professor Tolkien’s Estate save those (and there are several here) I have added from my own imagining. This is written only for pleasure and I gain no profit for my efforts.

Author’s notes: Okay, after reading “What if” stories about Éomer having a relationship before the war and then sending poor Gamling to tell the girl he was marrying Lothiriel, I felt bad for our handsome, loyal Rider so…Sorry to the Éomer-lovers out there—this does not make Éomer very loveable at times.
I Love feedback!! Please feed the muses 
Chapter notes:
This started as a quick little "what if" now it has grown so this chapter was reworked to better fit with the rest of the story (and maybe make Eomer a little less of a jerk)

“You know, it has been two seasons,” Éoswith said as she idly drew her fingers across Éomer’s chest.

“Two seasons since?”

Éoswith smacked the strong chest that cushioned her head. Éomer laughed and rolled over, successfully pinning the woman to the bed. “Seems like only yesterday I won my way into your bed,” he joked. He nibbled at her neck making it clear that he was ready for round two.

Éoswith sighed as talented lips trailed down her neck to her bare shoulder. Éomer’s passion was insatiable. But to be honest, she was tired and a bit sore. She really wanted to just curl up with Éomer and sleep in his embrace and wake with him beside her for a change. It would be nice if he would at least wake her when he left before sunup. She let out a sigh that was misconstrued by a now aroused Rohirrim.

But that was just how it with men…always having to demonstrate their prowess. Éomer was the most passionate man she had ever encountered and it was that fire that drew her to him in the first place. But that was all there was and Éoswith could not help but wonder if Éomer would ever calm down, be content to sit by the fire and just hold her—without his hands wandering after a few short minutes. Furthermore, although he said he loved her—not just the sex—when she indicated she was not in the mood (which was not often) or otherwise, well, indisposed as women sometimes are, Éomer seemed put-out and often left early. Her friends said it was normal; they all seemed to deal with it.

Stopping his sensual onslaught, Éomer propped up on an elbow suddenly turning serious. “Will you ride out with us?”

“I did not think you would want me to,” she replied.

Éomer met her hesitant gaze. “Why not. As you have said we have been together for two seasons now. When this war is over we can see about many more seasons. Nothing has changed; I will not need to deal with kingship for many years.”

Éoswith smiled. After Théodred’s passing, she broached the subject, fearing he would now desire a more elite lady. She was the daughter of an advisor and hog farmer but there were those of higher standing. The Rohirrim were not stuck on pretense and looked for a good, honest, strong woman to stand by their Kings. Birth-right played into it very little. However, while Éomer spoke words she wanted to hear her heart feared the uncertain future.

Less than a week later, the Rohirrim answered the call of Gondor. Gamling stood by, holding Firefoot as Éomer bid Éoswith good-bye. The kiss was passionate and forceful. The Captain had watched the relationship grow between the two. He thought her a good match and often teased the younger man that if he were but ten years younger he would give Éomer a run for his money. Now Gamling watched as Éomer removed one of the two medallions he wore and pressed it into her hand.

“Wait for me.”

******* Gondor—the Ring has been destroyed****

“What do you mean there is a marriage contract?” Éomer asked his heart beginning to race.

Imrahil, Prince of Dol Amroth sighed and spoke again. “Théoden King signed a marriage contract with me nearly twelve years ago. The agreement states that when my daughter comes of age to marry, she would marry Théoden’s heir. When Lothiriel turned seventeen, the trouble had already begun and Théoden and I agreed to wait until things settled down. Unfortunately, they escalated. With Théodred’s death, you were named the heir and as such, Lothiriel’s intended. If it makes you feel better, while she mourns the loss of Théodred, she finds you quite…agreeable.”

Éomer stared at the small group of men. He could not be hearing this right! This could not be happening; not now. He had too much on his mind as it was with Théoden now dead, the mantle of kingship on his shoulders and Éowyn near death in the healing halls.

“Surely, my king,” a tactician for his uncle spoke, “you must remember the Prince and his daughter coming to Rohan. She spent much time with your cousin.”

“Exactly!” the new King of Rohan blurted. “She spent time with Théodred. He was the one who agreed to the match. He was the heir.” Hazel eyes looked about wildly. “She is prepared to marry him, not me!”

Imrahil glared at the younger man. To his mind, Éomer was behaving like a spoilt youngling. Lothiriel was very fond of Théodred and had looked forward to their marriage. Now, however, now she found herself promised to a practical stranger. Still she gracefully accepted the change and stood ready to complete her part in the contract.

“My daughter held great affection for Théodred Prince and yes, they did have time to get to know each other, but very little. The contract is binding and Lothiriel has no intension of breeching it. Are you telling me that Rohan makes such pledges lightly and will abandon them so easily when the mood suites?”

Éomer bristled. “No,” he hissed, “but it is more complicated. I did not realize the match was with the heir. I thought it a match between Théodred and Lothiriel. I had not thought to become King when I left the Riddermark. I have…” The young man hesitated.

“Are you married or otherwise betrothed?” Imrahil asked rather impatiently.

Éomer hesitated and looked at those gathered. He briefly thought to what he had with Éoswith. It had been wonderful, but not perfect. Truth was, they were very different and if not in bed seemed to have little in common. Éoswith would need to learn to run the Hall and give up her life on the farm; Lothiriel had been groomed to do it and knew her life would be in Rohan at some time. Anyway, Éoswith would not like having to be a proper lady; she would find it confining and be miserable. He squared his shoulders; time to be king and accept responsibility. She would understand; she would have too. “No, nothing like that.”

Éomer looked to his uncle’s Captain. Gamling always had a way to give silent support. This time, however, Éomer was met with a cold stare. The Captain had nothing to offer in the way of consolation. After all, it was not his place to remind the new King of what or rather who he asked to wait for him. Nor should he have to tell a grown man to speak up. ‘Nothing like that?’ Gamling was not pleased by this whole situation but there was little he could do. Perhaps had he had time to speak with Éomer privately some other arrangement could have been made. If Dol Amroth desired a political match, there was Eothain, Éomer’s cousin on his father’s side. He was a high ranking Captain and kinsman to the king—who did not have gentle woman waiting for him. All Éomer had to do was speak up. Tell the truth; tell Prince Imrahil that he loved another.

“Wonderful,” the Prince of Dol Amroth replied. “You can become acquainted with my daughter while your sister and the others recover. Then we will travel with you when you return to Rohan and you can announce the betrothal to your people.” The Prince’s demeanor softened. “I know this is not what you expected; but believe me, my daughter will make you a fine queen and do everything in her power to see you happy. Not only will the union strengthen Rohan politically, but your bloodline as well—your heirs will lay claim to elvin blood and long life.”

Longevity, that was good. Perhaps this was for the best. Éomer nodded as the contingent from Dol Amroth left the small room. The King then dismissed the others save Gamling. Finally he turned tired eyes to the older man. Gamling moved to the side bare and poured his king a goblet. Éomer took a long drink.

“I hear she has grown very beautiful,” the Captain said casually, watching Éomer reaction.

“I saw her briefly and she had grown beautiful indeed. The few time she visited and we spoke I was surprised of her knowledge of horses for one so young. She will fit in well.” Éomer took another long drink. “I think this will work well for everyone. Now, I will send you back to Rohan to alert Elfhelm of these developments and to speak to Éoswith; she will need to be forewarned and I would trust no one but you to do it.”

Gamling stood speechless, mouth agape. Surely Éomer did not think Gamling would be the one to tell her. That was something Éomer should do himself. It was only right as he was about to break the girl’s heart! Gamling made his objection known.
Chapter end notes:
And so it begins...