43. An End to Waiting

'Don't be so nervous. A wedding is not all that different from a handfasting,' Diamond tried to say reassuringly.

'Did I say I was nervous?' Estella demanded.

'Your hands are trembling.'

'Your hands are trembling, too,' Estella retorted. 'This is ridiculous! Calm down, Diamond, you cannot do up my hair with trembling hands! I'm going to tell your mother on you!'

Diamond laughed, and Estella's stern look melted into a smile. 'That's better.'

Once the hair was done up to the satisfaction of both, Diamond said, 'Do you think the Thain will come?' Anxiety knotted her stomach again.

'He's not here yet, at least, he wasn't when we shut ourselves up in here to dress. If he doesn't hurry, he'll miss the ceremony. Ah, but if he gets here in time for the feasting it's not a wasted trip.' Estella smiled at Diamond's surprised laughter.

'If he doesn't come, I don't think Pippin will ever speak to him again.'

'Well, they haven't spoken since the handfasting, so it's no great change,' Estella said philosophically.

'Two years,' Diamond said slowly. 'I cannot imagine not speaking to my father for two years.'

'Well, your father is not The Took. Makes a big difference.'

'The difference in their position, you mean?'

'No, the difference in the hobbit. Your father is a reasonable hobbit. The Thain is a fool.' Diamond winced at Estella's bluntness. 'Well, he is! He drives his son away and then he gets mad when his son decides to *stay* away.'

A voice called at the door. 'Lasses! Are you nearly ready? Do you need any help?'

'We're nearly ready,' Diamond called back. 'Aren't we?' she asked Estella.

'Oh, yes,' Estella breathed, giving the wildflowers that crowned Diamond's hair one last adjustment, and tweaking the tendrils of curly hair that framed her face. 'I think you look perfect.'

'And you couldn't be more beautiful,' Diamond answered honestly.

'Oh, yes, if I do say so myself,' Estella smirked.

'Go on with you! You're nearly as bad as my husband to be!'

'Only nearly? I must be slipping.' Laughing, they opened the door to greet their waiting parents.

Diamond heard the crowd begin the traditional song as her father escorted her to the field where they would be joined. They couldn't have asked for a nicer day. Fleecy clouds swam in a sky that was intensely blue. The meadow seemed to mirror the sky, with its hundreds of blue and white wildflowers in full riotous bloom.

She glanced over at Estella, who was smiling, with eyes only for her beloved Merry. Diamond's eyes met Pippin's, and her own face shone. Their fathers escorted them right up to a beaming Mayor Samwise, who spoke the joining words with dignity befitting his office. Rose Gamgee, baby Merry in arms, looked on fondly. Merry almost lost his composure when she caught his eye and winked, but managed to straighten his face and attend to the ceremony to the end.

A great cheer arose as Mayor Samwise pronounced each couple "hobbit and wife". Then there was the long wait to receive the congratulations of the guests who snaked in a long line from the field, past the newlyweds and their families, all the way to the dinner tents.

Diamond caught her breath as Paladin and Eglantine Took came up to her. Eglantine gathered her in a hug, saying, 'Well done, lass. Take good care of my lad.'

Pippin stared at his father for a long moment, then broke the silence. 'But will you not stand with us?' he asked stiffly. 'It's your place. You're family.'

Diamond thought she saw a crack appear in the Thain's frozen face, a look of longing, perhaps, as he answered, 'Oh, aye.' Then he straightened up again, seized his son by the hand, muttered his congratulations. Diamond thought they would continue moving with the line, but taking his wife's arm, The Took stepped out of the line and went to stand beside his son.

It was not an apology, and nowhere close to a reconciliation, but it was a start.

The wedding supper went on long into the night, and Pippin made sure he and Diamond were in the thick of things, eating, dancing, laughing. 'After all,' he said, 'I need to make it up to you for missing the last feast!'

Merry was quieter, but Estella made sure she kept him laughing, and well supplied with food. She knew that a part of his mind was on another wedding that would have taken place here five years earlier.

A ripple of astonishment passed through the crowd as staid Mayor Samwise climbed upon a table and held up his hands for attention. As silence fell, he lifted his winecup towards the newlyweds.

'I was so fortunate as to be toasted at my wedding supper by the illustrious Meriadoc Brandybuck and Peregrin Took, and it is my pleasure to return the compliment,' he called. A cheer went up. Rose beamed at her husband, knowing what would come next.

'But this toast is *not* for Master Brandybuck, nor is it for Master Took!' Samwise shouted. 'No, indeed, for I ask all gathered here today instead to lift their cups in tribute to their benefactors. Ladies and Gentlehobbits, I give you the new Mistress Took, and Mistress Brandybuck!'

Shouts of 'Hear! Hear!' and many cups raised and quaffed.

'And what is a toast without a song?' Mayor Samwise shouted. Rose nearly giggled at the look of apprehension on Merry and Pippin's faces. But of course, giggling would not be dignified for a matron, mother of four, and wife of the Mayor of the Shire. So she contented herself with a wide grin.

Another cheer went up, and then silence fell as Sam began to sing softly.

'A lamp in the window, burning through the darkness,
'Calling the traveller home.
'Although he can't see it, walking in the darkness,
'He knows that it waits for him there.

'The wind may be blowing, snow may be falling,
'Mighty mountains rise before him, rushing rivers behind,
'There's a lamp in the window, shining in the darkness,
'Calling the traveller home.

'His journey may lead him to lands drenched in darkness,
'Where Sun, Moon or stars are not found.
'He knows that behind him, shining in the darkness,
'The lamp in the window still burns.

'The dark foes are waiting, seeking his blood,
'Their fell voices laughing, with no hope ahead,
'There's a lamp in the window, shining in the darkness,
'Calling the traveller home.'

'The battle behind him, he turns his face homeward,
'Seeking the light of the dawn.
'Although he can't see it, walking in the darkness,
'The lamp shines to beckon him on.

'The wind may be blowing, rain may be falling,
'Mighty mountains rise behind him, rushing rivers ahead,
'There's a lamp in the window, shining in the darkness,
'Calling the traveller home.

[A/N: for music, click here]

The hush lasted for a long moment after Mayor Samwise finished. Merry stood, tears streaming down his face, hand tightly clasping Estella's. Samwise looked at them, nodding, and said quietly, ' 'Tis a wise hobbit who knows where to find his treasure.' He raised his cup once more, shouting, 'Let us drink to joy!'

This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.

In Challenges

Story Information

Author: lindelea

Status: Beta

Completion: Complete

Rating: General

Last Updated: 02/16/04

Original Post: 02/16/03

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