2. Stars Through the Branches
This story is Dedicated to MysteriousWays, who once again inspired me.
Later that night Pippin awoke alone in his bed. He startled for a moment before rolling onto his back to stare at the ceiling. He knew where Diamond was, and he would go to her in a while.
He let his thoughts drift back over the day's events. Things had gone well enough. The talk about their problem had been short, but it was the most they had said to each other regarding it. Pippin sighed. He and Diamond had talked through so many other things, yet not this. This was wounding them in a way that made them suddenly awkward. It worried him, this silence between them, and it was part of the reason he had written to his mother and sister. They were healers. They had helped other hobbit couples with such trials. They knew what to say or do, and they understood the pain. Yes, he and Diamond talking and crying together had been a good thing.
When Merry and Estella had returned from their picnic in high spirits, he and Diamond's hearts were cheered by the smiles and laughter of their house-mates. Estella ran straight to Theodoc, who was being held by his Aunt Diamond. Her eyes took in every detail of her son's happy face and sparkling eyes. It was obvious no horrid thing had befallen him while he was out of her sight. Estella gently took her baby from Diamond to nuzzle and kiss his soft little face. She stood and just enjoyed hugging her precious son for a few minutes before she gave him to Merry. Estella then grabbed hold of Pippin, swinging him into a dance around the kitchen, tip toeing to whisper near to his ear.
"Thank you, dearest Pip!" Estella said sweetly. "I did not wish to go, but it was the right thing, a most wonderful thing! Merry told me it was all your idea. Thank you, dearest Pippin!"
But Pippin felt a wee bit guilty as that memory came to mind. He had wanted to help his friends, truly he had, but he had also wanted time alone for himself and his dear Diamond. He smiled at the bedroom ceiling as he thought of his Diamond. Sam's Rosie was more eye-catchingly beautiful. His own sister, Pimpernel, was as cute as any hobbitess could possibly be. But his Diamond! He knew that most hobbits regarded her as pretty, yet not uncommonly so. To him she sparkled as brightly as the gem for which she was named. Pippin drew a deep breath and let it out in a long sigh. That was what pained him the most, the sparkle in her voice and eyes dimming from her growing burden of sadness. Pippin threw back the covers, put on his robe and started out the bedroom door, then he paused and turned back to the linen cupboard. He took out two blankets and two comforters then left the house.
The crescent moon gave enough light that Pippin had no need of a lamp to make his way to the base of the chestnut tree that grew between the stable and the house. He silently went up the steps that circled the trunk of the tree about ten feet until they ended at a platform, a flet, that rested firmly in the branches. An Elven flet built in a chestnut tree in the Shire. Pippin never had been as afraid of heights as most hobbits. Although the flets in Lorien had been frightfully high off the ground, he had liked the idea of rooms in a tree. He had asked the Lord Celeborn and the Lady Galadriel about them on the way home from Minas Tirith, and one of their folk had drawn up detailed instructions on how to build the sturdy platforms. The main difference between this flet and those in Lorien was this one had a balustrade completely encircling the platform, as well as along the outside edge of the stairs leading up to the access hole.
Pippin saw Diamond silhouetted against the stars that showed through an opening in the still-thick canopy of leaves on the old tree. She did not turn as he came up the last two steps and onto the smooth boards of the platform, but she had heard him coming and did not startle when he came up behind her.
"You should be sleeping," she said wearily. "There is no sense in both of us losing a nights rest."
"As though I could sleep knowing you are up and about with your worrying." Pippin set the bedding down keeping one blanket, which he wrapped around his little wife. He stood behind her holding the blanket in place as he held Diamond.
She leaned back against his comforting chest. "How did you know I was up here?"
"There have been other nights when I couldn't find you anywhere in the house." Pippin's voice was soft in her ear as he bent his head to rest his cheek against her hair while he hugged her a little more tightly. "The first time, just before I started to panic, I thought to look for you here, and here you were. I decided not to impose on you those other times, but tonight I wanted to be near you." Pippin nuzzled his nose into her soft chestnut hair.
"I have never seen the Elven lands," Diamond whispered, and her husband felt her sigh and snuggle herself deeper into his embrace. "From what you say, Peregrin, even if we someday go there, it will not be the same as when you were there, as the Lords and Ladies have left Middle-earth. Yet there is something other-worldly up here amongst the branches. I feel I can see far off places and that I am no longer in the Shire at all." Diamond eased one hand out from under the blanket to reach up and hold onto one of Pippin's hands. "Tell me again what the Golden Wood was like."
Pippin closed his eyes to better recall the memories. "It was beautiful and strange. The air was fragrant, spicy and sweet both together, and clean. You could hear the songs of birds and the singing of Elves and both seemed to be part of the place, as though they came from the tress, the ground and the air itself." Pippin gently nuzzled Diamond's head then found her cheek with his lips and kissed her softly. "And time, well, the time passed both quickly and slowly or seemingly not at all. We soon lost count of the days we spent there. We were at peace there."
"Mmmmm," Diamond sighed.
Pippin raised his head and drew in a deep breath of the night air, cool but not yet cold. "You are right, Diamond, my love," he said as he lowered his head to kiss her hair again and then her temple. "It does feel different up here. The air even smells a bit like Lorien, well, the spicy scent of it. The stars look brighter, nearer somehow."
"Mmmmm,"Diamond sighed again, but this time the sigh was followed by a shiver. Pippin kissed her again.
"Hold onto the blanket, dear," he told her, then went over to the bedding and spread out the blanket first, keeping it doubled over. He placed one of the comforters on top of the blanket, also doubled over. "Come over here and lie down. Unwrap your blanket a bit so we can share it," he instructed her, and she complied. He spread the second comforter out over the top, then crawled under the covers beside his wife. "I'm sorry it isn't as soft as our bed in the house but then, we can't see the stars through the roof."
Diamond looked up. Pippin had placed the bedding directly beneath an opening in the branches. He wrapped his arms around her and held her close, while they gazed at the bright stars above them. She was soon enveloped by the warmth of Pippin's body lying close beside her in the makeshift bed up in the flet among the branches of the tree. The stars sparkled and gleamed, while a soft breeze rustled the leaves. Almost blending with the sounds of the leaves, Pippin began to sing quietly to her.
"You ask how much
How much I love you, dear
And I answer you this,
More than the stars I could count in a year.
You ask how long
How long my love will stay.
And I answer you this,
Until all the stars above fade away.
For my love is deeper than deep,
My love is wider than wide,
And my heart without yours
Simply could not abide.
You ask how true
How true my love will be.
And I answer you this,
'Twill outshine the stars that shine brightly for thee."
Diamond felt her love for Peregrin welling up inside her, and when he finished the old song, she kissed him long and deeply. And they loved each other in the Elven flet above the ground, beneath the stars on a clear autumn night in the Shire.
A Huge Thank You! To all of you who read and respond, that is what makes this all worth it! If you have questions and don't have your email address at your page, or don't have a page here, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org I am happy to answer questions if I can get in touch with you. I don't do the thanking and responding to everyone on the story postings as I fear I'll forget someone and offend them. :) Thank you all again!
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.