The decision had been made, the order placed: a girrrrrrrrl was on the way. Of course the Littlest Edward was nervous as we played the waiting game. He wrote in his journal a lot, but seemed too distracted to scrapbook. And he was still as good a ponykeeper as ever, but his attention seemed... elsewhere. He spent a lot of time in his Easter grass haystack, watching the ceiling fan blades spin, wrapped in anxious thought.
"She's not going to like me," he fretted. "I'm a hundred and eight years old--I don't know what the kids think is 'cool' or 'fresh' these days--oh God! See! I'm calling them kids. It's hopeless. I should just yell at her to get off my lawn."
I was more concerned that The Littlest Bella would ravish him on sight, but... better not to put that fear in his head as well.
"Well, I'm glad the tiny freak has earned himself a little girlfriend. Maybe she can help him babysit on the old homestead."
"Sour grapes do not become you, Sparky."
"To be sure, all I've ever wanted was some insipid teenage girl to help me wrangle all the ponies of the rainbow."
"You sneer and put on a big bad brave face all you want, but when you prove yourself to be as trustworthy as Little Edward has, we'll see about getting someone for you."
It's weird--in a way, I tended to think of Tonner Edward as being "older" than Little Edward, probably because he was physically larger, but also because he had a harder edge and a more cynical view of the world (and possibly a less sheltered one as well). At the same time... sometimes he reminded me of nothing more than a sulky teenager, while Little Edward was the picture of responsibility. (Not to mention that I sometimes had a sense that Little Edward had already been in Tonner Edward's place... and evolved past it.)
Which is all to say that I felt that The Littlest Edward needed a strong male role model in his life, particularly with his first experience with love looming on the horizon, and Tonner Edward... was not it. After a moment's thought, I decided to go to Helm's Deep Aragorn--he's the shortest of the Middle-earthers, actually, but he's also Aragorn, so he's too busy being badass to feel insecure about it. He would be a good example for tiny, tiny, tiny Edward, I decided. That, and they both like music--I think Aragorn has, like, half of the endless frickin' songs in the Lord of the Rings books, so they could hang out at Little Edward's piano and sing or something, I figured.
He nodded. "You're probably right. And it would do the kid some good to get out of Pink Princess Ponyland over there."
"Do you think you can help him out, then? Like, if he has any questions? You know... about girls?"
"Sure." He glanced down the hall. Edward was over at the Sparklerosa, as usual, curling Rosedust's tail. "And I think he's going to have a lot of questions."
I have a theory (and I promise this is related) that everyone has at least one person they confide in, who they consider to be exempt from "I swear, I won't tell another living soul" promises. Often, this is your spouse. Helm's Deep Aragorn, as you know, was immediately claimed by Purple Arwen the moment he arrived. So that night, over pie, he told his particular Queen of Gondor--and to be fair, I hadn't even sworn him to secrecy--that he was now involved in a kind of Big Brothers, Little Sparklepires program, because Little Edward needed some mentoring now that !!A GIRRRRRL!! was on the way.
Purple Arwen is the biggest gossip on the shelf.
I think you can imagine what happened next.
Which is to say, that pretty soon everyone knew. (Well, of course Galadriel already knew, because she had been present at the stress test, but she was able to keep her own counsel. And Tonner Edward knew, but no one was talking to him.) For the first time, I was glad that Anna (who had long ago made her feelings on the subject of Bella Motherfucking Swan very clear) wasn't around at the moment. Thus, it was Eowyn who had--you know, I won't even call it the "worst" reaction to the news. It was the most distinct reaction, if only because she, as a reader of the Twilight books, knew what we were in for. She and Faramir One were still in their (figurative) honeymoon stage, and thus she'd gotten behind on her reading--but as soon as Purple Arwen ran and told her that The Littlest Bella was on the way, she dove into Eclipse. This worried me at first, until I realized that she was bringing an entirely different perspective to the books this time--that of the Smug Married, so to speak.
"This whole thing is just completely ridiculous," she informed me loftily. "Bella's obviously meant to be with Edward, and yet she keeps jerking poor Jacob around. Both the guys, really. When you have a good thing, you have to appreciate it. You have to protect it. I would never do that to Faramir."
"Hm," I said.
"Well, at least you don't have any Jacobs. So this Bella can go straight to obsessing over poor Little Edward." She pursed her lips scornfully. "I hope he's ready to deal with someone that single-minded. I mean, it's got to get annoying after a while."
"Mm," I said.
And even though Eowyn seemed pretty firmly attached to Faramir One now--she was still repulsed by the My Little Ponies, which had totally turned her off The Littlest Edward, and she still feared greatly for Windfola, which meant that Tonner Edward had never turned her on at all--Faramir One was still a bit protective. He was just careful now not to get all caveman about it... at least, not in front of her. For example, Tonner Edward had come into my room (which does have those two big windows, but the sky was safely overcast) to pick up something new to read, and had stopped to puzzle out what was on the cover of the book Eowyn was reading (I imagine he was overtaken by a strong sense of déjà vu). Apparently he spent too long staring, because Faramir marched up to him and hissed,
"If you so much as BLINK AT HER while she's sleeping, I'll feed you to the cat."
Tonner Edward, who was nearly six inches taller, regarded him calmly. "Technically, we vampires don't have to blink--"
"Sass me and I'll feed you to the DOGS."
The other guys were sitting around on the printer, shooting the shit with Legolas (and now snickering).
"I wonder... what is the evolutionary advantage of the pompadour?"
(Guffaws all around.)
"What's up with those two vampire dudes, anyway? Do I even want to know?"
"Well, they're both the same creepy guy--a hundred-year-old teenage virgin or something--"
"Oh, man. Uptight."
"Extremely. Well, the little one's a good kid. Weird--"
"--but his heart's in the right place. Good voice."
"Well, but he has all those ponies..."
"Hey, man, follow your bliss. I don't judge."
"The other one, though..." He said something in Elvish that I didn't understand, and since they all laughed, I don't know if it was the Sindarin equivalent of "creepy motherfucker" or something more entertainingly specific. "I don't blame Anna for wanting to get rid of him."
"Well, I definitely get a foul vibe off that guy..."
"... even though he looks fair," finished Faramir, smiling.
I had half expected a brother-self replay of Faramir One's lovelorn meeblings once Legolas showed up, but Faramir Two had kept his cool so far. But then, he had always been a charmer. So far he seemed content to romp around with Lyra and Legolas and Iorek--and this may seem a little unbalanced, as war games go, but Lyra's a tough little shitkicker, and where the guys tended to pull their punches with her, she just barreled ahead and whacked everyone upside the head with her bookmark-flail. (And that was about the time Iorek would then launch himself at her victim. FATALITY!) So it was actually the guys who usually came off the worse for wear, although they were usually laughing too hard to notice.
I began to wonder if he was even interested in Legolas at all--as much as the Faramirs claimed to prefer blond(e)s, he never made a move; he didn't even flirt. After a few days, however, he did ask to see my all-in-one copy of Lord of the Rings, however, and read it very intently, all the way down through the appendices. Right after he finally closed the book, I heard him laughing.
And then he went back to the battlefield, still chuckling to himself.
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