7. Blossom's Bud
No blood, my baby, two months, no blood.
What shall you do?
What will your mother say?
Soon it will show.
No blood, my baby, two months, no blood.
You should have told them.
Two months, no blood.
Lily's thoughts went round and round the problem, as her hands flew on the loom.
'For goodness' sake, Lily, look at what you're doing. You're messing the pattern!'
'I'm sorry, mother.'
'What's the matter with you? All the week you've been breaking dishes, stepping on the dogs' tails, putting sugar into soup and salt on strawberries. It's about some boy or other, isn't it?'
'Answer me, girl!'
'It's no boy, mother. It's worse.'
Here goes, Lily thought, double or nothing.
'And would you tell your mother what is worse than a boy?'
'It's not my fault!'
'I'm with child, mother.'
For a moment, Mrs Maggot was speechless.
'And that isn't your fault?'
'He forced me!'
Instantly, her mother's expression changed. She was still angry, but not at her poor violated child.
'Who did this to you? Who would do such a dirty thing? This is the Shire, good heavens, not some barbarian wilderness.'
'Lang did, mother. The human. The overseer.'
'Oh, my child! A human! Do you understand what it means?'
'Your life is in danger. Human children are big, too big. I've heard a story from Bree, a sad one.'
'Oh, mother, what shall I do?'
'We can do nothing but hope for the best. You have large hips, after all.'
Poor Lily's stomach grew quickly, and there was no stopping the rumours. Lily did not want to proclaim the father's identity, but she had to, when Alfons Took got into trouble for visiting her. After that, the gossiping old women spoke in tones of pity, and gossiped all the more.
The story reached Crickhollow, where Merry and Pippin were sharing the joys of bachelor life in the little house Frodo once had bought 'for himself'. They arranged parties and rode around the Shire on real horses, visiting friends. It was from some friend or other that they happened to hear the news about Maggot's youngest daughter.
Once back at home, they discussed the matter over second breakfast.
'The girl cannot be blamed. No-one would expect that kind of thing to happen in the Shire', Merry stated.
'If someone other than Lang is to be blamed, I am.'
'Remember how Elrond wanted to send me back to the Shire. We would have been prepared, the humans couldn't have ordered us about like that.'
'I'm glad you didn't turn back. We needed you right where you were.'
'Waking monsters in Moria, getting captured by orcs, looking into a Palantir? Some use I was.'
'How many times I have to go this through, you thick-headed Took? You just want to hear your achievements all over again. You saved us from the orcs, helped agitate the ents, rescued Faramir and killed an Olog-Hai. Not bad for such a whelp as you.'
Pippin grinned. Then his expression turned unusually serious.
'I've been meaning to ask you. You and Lily?' He pointed at Merry with the butter-knife. Merry sighed.
'A long time ago. We had just started our tweens. We played at being in love, or loved being at play. She was different then. I wonder what happened to her.'
'Kids sometimes change a lot in their tweens.'
'Listen to you! Barely out of yours, and talking like an old gaffer.'
'So you are not interested in her anymore?'
'No. And I gather you are?'
'Uh-huh.' Pippin smiled a foolish smile.
'Be careful. Did you hear about that first rumour?'
'The one saying the baby was Alf's.'
'Oh, that one. But it isn't true.'
'Haven't you thought there might be some truth to it nonetheless? The rumour got started because Alf was visiting Lily. You have a rival, Pippin my boy.'
'Oh dear. That's why she was so exited.'
'When I told her that Alf killed Lang.'
'There's Lily Maggot for you. Shallow as a puddle.'
'No she isn't!'
'Anyway, I had better pay her a visit. Shall you accompany me? For the sake of the look of things.'
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.