Diamond was treated like a queen, with both Brandybucks and Tooks being thrilled with the expectation of a new little one joining the families, especially with the possibility that this little one might be the next heir to the Took family titles. She was told more than she could possibly remember about what she should eat, what she should drink, how much sleep she should get, what housework she should be doing, how much housework she should be doing, and for how much longer she should be doing it. She thought of her mother, who had no servants, doing all the care of the house along with caring for little ones while pregnant with the next child and smiled. She was touched at their loving concern but knew she was doing well.
“It is all in the book you gave me when I married Peregrin, Mum,” Diamond reminded Eglantine. “Though I do enjoy hearing about it all. What was it like for you when you were expecting?”
“Dear me, child!” Lanti exclaimed. “You expect me to remember that far back?” All the Took and Brandybuck females laughed. “Best ask these younger ones for stories about expecting little ones.” With that the lasses were soon having a grand time recounting their pregnancies.
When the holidays had passed, life at Crickhollow settled back nicely into its routines. Theodoc was growing and Diamond was growing; so much of the daily activities centered around them. On this morning with a week left in the month of Afteryule, Estella sat at the kitchen table watching her son and her dear friend. Theo was now able to be in a babe’s-chair which was drawn up to the table. He could sit on his own now and had an interest in picking up small bits of food to stuff clumsily into his mouth. He was contentedly chasing about the small bits of toast that his Mum had put before him on the table. Diamond was not so contented. Estella watched as Diamond rearranged the dishes in the cupboard. She had been at it for nearly half an hour, not saying a word the entire time.
“There’s only going to be a few ways to put those dishes in there, Diamond. I think you have tried them all.”
“No. I think perhaps the big plates on the bottom shelf on the left . . .”
“That was what you did first.”
Diamond’s nose wrinkled as her upper lip pulled up a bit on the right side. “Well then, big plates on the middle shelf on the right.”
“That was the try before this last one,” Estella stated while looking more carefully at Diamond. “I’ll listen if you want to talk about it,” she added.
“Talk about what? The cupboard? The dishes?” Diamond snapped. “There’s nothing to say. I just felt the arrangement was poor.”
Estella came over to Diamond, took her by the shoulders turning her around to look her in the eyes. “It must be some Tookish trait or something that has rubbed off onto you. Merry has told me he always knows when something is amiss with Pippin, ‘He can’t sit still, and he is being quiet.’ Now you are doing it. Come. Sit down and tell me what’s wrong.”
The nervous energy suddenly vanished. Diamond let herself be drawn to a chair at the table. She sat there looking at her hands as they fumbled about straightening out nonexistent creases in the apron covering her round belly.
“I fear I’ve hurt the baby.”
“Why do you think that?” Estella gently asked.
“My little one had been moving a fair amount. Still nothing Peregrin could feel, but plenty that I could. But the last couple of days . . .”
There was an anxious pause. Fear tightened Estella’s heart. Memories of her own loss ran through her mind. She swallowed. “No,” she thought, “It might be nothing. Stay calm.” She laid her hand atop one of Diamond’s that rested on her rounded tummy. “Has there been no movement at all?” she asked Diamond.
“Some. Some each day. But not as it had been. I had thought my little one should be moving more and more,” Diamond paused to look up at Estella, “not less.”
“You’ve done nothing wrong that I know of. You’ve been eating well. Resting when you’re tired. I know none of us are letting you lift anything heavy.” Estella gave Diamond a doubting glance. “Unless you’ve been doing so when we aren’t about?”
“No. I’ve not lifted anything I oughtn’t. It’s . . . well . . . I’ve, that is we . . . that is Peregrin and I . . .” Diamond was blushing, avoiding Estella’s eyes. “I don’t know why I’m feeling so embarrassed.” She clasped her hands together on her lap then looked at Estella with a determined set to her face. “I seem to be rather in need of my husband’s attention . . . affection . . . ah . . . passion. I’ve been terribly demanding. I’ve kept him quite busy. No one said we shouldn’t. No one has said anything at all about such a thing.”
All of the last bit poured out of Diamond in a rush, the pitch of her voice rising to match how high she was holding her head. Her eyes had taken on the look of one making a dare, challenging Estella to say there was anything wrong with this. Then tears started to pool in her eyes and finally spilt down her cheeks.
“But now our baby isn’t moving as much, and I fear . . .”
Estella moved her chair over next to Diamond’s. She pulled the distraught young hobbitess into a firm hug then gently guided Diamond’s head to her shoulder. She let Diamond sob while she ran her fingers through her hair. “There, dear one. Cry it out. No, I suppose no one would say anything, or rather, I suppose I’m surprised they didn’t. I would have thought that during that twittery time we all had at the Hall over Yule someone might have . . . but you’re right no one did. Not every expectant lass has that happen, but I’ve heard it can. I actually wanted Merry quite badly while I was carrying Theodoc, but after . . . well, we just didn’t.”
Diamond shuddered a little, and Estella realized that it hadn’t been the wisest thing to mention the lost little one.
“Oh, Diamond! No, dearest, don’t fret so.” Estella hugged Diamond tighter. “I’m sorry. I know of several couples who had quite the good time having perfectly healthy babes. Your sister-in-law, Vinca, being one of them. She told me a fair amount of things while I was pregnant with Theo.” Estella pushed Diamond back a bit so they could look at each other. She gave her friend a bright smile. “The weather is nice today, not that cold. Why don’t we go over to the Hall and let Mistress Calendula have a look at you. You can ask her all your questions. I’m sure you’ll feel better for it.”
The plans were made. Estella nursed Theodoc right before they left; the husbands stayed at home to mind the baby.
Theodoc slept, as did his father, but Pippin moved restlessly about the house. Straightening pictures, rearranging the items on his desk, just moving about until he heard his little cousin stirring in his crib. He decided to let Merry sleep, so Pippin went into the nursery to tend to Theodoc. He changed him then took him to the kitchen to feed him his baby’s porridge that Estella had left in a covered bowl on the hearth. After another change of clothes, the cousins retired to the parlor where Merry lay on the sofa softly snoring.
Pippin sat Theodoc down on the floor, got him some blocks to investigate, then stretched out on his side on the floor with his head, propped up on his hand, near the baby. Some of the blocks were too big for Theo’s hands, and Pippin smiled as he watched his little cousin trying to figure out that he could pick up a big block if he used both hands. But gradually, Pip’s attention wandered until he was staring blankly at the floor. His thoughts were not as calm as he appeared outwardly to be. The lines between his eyes deepened as his brows drew together.
Pippin shook his head sharply as a tapping on his cheek brought him out of his reverie. Theodoc’s chubby baby face was only a few inches from his own with a rather grownup looking expression of concern upon it. Again, Theodoc patted Pippin’s face with his soft, moist little hand.
“What,” began Pippin, but then his eyes widened with a look of understanding. “Oh! Well, yes you’re right. It has been awhile.”
Theodoc cooed while grabbing and tugging on a handful of his older cousin’s hair. His large blue eyes had a soft, sad look. Pippin looked back down to the floor and sighed. Theo waited a few moments then tugged harder on the hair in his hand while letting out an insistent little squeal.
“Ow! What? Are you turning into your Da at this young an age?”
Theo tugged and squealed.
“Alright, alright,” Pippin sighed. He took hold of Theodoc around his chubby little middle. He wiggled himself around until his back was resting against the sofa at the far end from Merry’s head. Even though Theo could sit up on his own now, Pippin still drew up his knees as a back-rest for the little one. The two of them stared at each other.
“Well,” Pippin finally said. “You are the one who insisted on this talk. What is it you want?”
Theodoc gurgled, looked at his cousin from under his lashes and pouted.
“I’ve been busy lately.”
Theo whimpered, his lower lip trembled.
“No. I’m being honest. I’ve had a lot . . .”
The whimpering grew louder.
“I’ve . . .”
A sniff came from Theodoc’s tiny nose as a tear trickled down his round cheek.
“Drat!” Pippin hugged the baby boy to his chest, firmly placing a kiss upon Theo’s soft brown curls. “You are turning into your Da. You see through me. I shan’t be getting anything past either of you, shall I?” He sat Theo back down on his lower abdomen then checked his pockets for a handkerchief. To his surprise he found one and used it to dab away the baby’s tears and wipe his little nose.
Theodoc grabbed hold of Pippin’s little finger. He began babbling with a concerned sort of tone. Pippin listened intently.
“Yes, you’re right. I haven’t been anymore busy than before. I just have not felt like chatting. And yes, I’m worried.” Pippin looked a bit more deeply into Theodoc’s eyes. “How old are you inside this wee body?”
Theodoc giggled and squirmed.
“You’ve the ‘wisdom of the ages,’ eh? I can just about believe that. At least I know that is what your Da thinks he has.” Pippin shook his head, chuckled, then grew serious again. “I’m frightened, Theo. I’m frightened for my little lad, and I’m frightened for myself. It’s just that . . . well . . . I told you once that some of us Tooks are a bit stranger than the rest.”
Theodoc blinked slowly and continued to stare at Pippin.
“Yes . . . well, what if my lad is one of us? I mean, there are troubles that go with it. He’ll be born early, have lungs that aren’t quite right for most of his growing up years, and he might have . . . he might . . ,” Pippin dropped the volume of his voice even lower. “He might see things, know things that others don’t see or know. He’ll want to know everything about everything. He’ll want to wander off and . . .”
Theo smacked his older cousin’s hand and let lose a stream of chatter.
“Alright! Alright. Yes. He’ll be like me. If it is quite alright with you, little cousin, that frightens me. Terrifies me. Quite ties me up in knots inside. Not that I can stop it. If he has the . . . the stuff in him that will make him strange, ‘tis there already and that is that. But then, my observant little friend, how will I cope with it? Part of me wants to lock him in the house, lock him in his room, do anything to keep him under some sort of control.” Pippin closed his eyes, drawing in a deep breath, which he held for a bit before letting it out with a whooshing noise. “Part of me wants to set him as free as the birds in the sky. Let him wonder about everything. Let him wander to find his answers. I want to go along with him and see where he takes me.” Pippin kept his eyes closed. With a sigh he leaned his head back against the sofa. “Then I think of all the hurts I have caused over the years. Hurt feelings. Hurt bodies. Damaged property.” He raised his head to look at the baby sitting on his tummy. “I regret it all, Theo. Well, I regret most of it. Some things were worth the trouble. But mostly, I regret them. I would like to spare my son from being another ‘Fool of a Took’.”
Pippin leaned forward to rest his forehead against Theodoc’s forehead. He felt a soft, moist little baby hand on each cheek, and he sighed. Theo gently patted his cousin’s cheeks, tugged gently on the wayward curls that hung about Pippin’s face all the while making soft, tiny sounds.
“I should have known you would know,” Pippin said softly without lifting his head from Theo’s. “Though I think you will forget about it, somehow. Your Grandmother has the fairy blood, and I don’t think your Da knows. And, no. You aren’t a Took. It might be in your blood but it will never be strong. It will never have rule over you.” Pippin drew back to stare into his little cousin’s eyes. Pippin’s eyes grew clearer, greener, while Theodoc’s eyes grew softer, almost glazed looking.
“Yes,” Pippin whispered. “Yes. He is. He will be like me, like your Grandmother, like so many Tooks before us.”
Theodoc blinked slowly. He reached out toward Pippin’s face, and Pippin moved forward to meet the small hand. Their eyes remained locked together for several moments until, with a sigh escaping both of them, they closed their eyes at the same time. Pippin pulled Theodoc tightly to his chest. Theodoc wrapped his chubby little arms around Pippin’s neck.
“Thank you.” Pippin breathed the words. “You’re right. I’ve not been such a bad sort. The people who love me wouldn’t love me if I were all that terrible. My lad will be fine.” Pippin sighed then gave the babe in his arms a little squeeze. “And you are right, I need to give him a good name. A name that when he hears it will remind him that he is a good, worthy hobbit.” Pippin’s eyes popped open. Sparks glinted in their depths. “That’s it!” he said louder than he meant to then turned quickly see if he had awakened Merry. “That’s it,” he said quietly this time into Theo’s little ear. “A name as noble as yours, my dear cousin. You are named for a good, kindly king. A king who fell under darkness but was saved, then led his people to fight the great evil. A king who took the time to be kind to a lonely hobbit of the Shire. I pledged my life to Gondor to honor Boromir. I shall name my son to honor his brother.” Pippin sat Theodoc back on his abdomen so they could look at each other. “He will have the name of a good man. A gentle, learned man who was brave and mighty in battle, a prince beloved by the people of Gondor, whom I love deeply and whom I hold to be my lord along with King Elessar. His name will be Faramir Took.”
Theodoc squealed and giggled.
“You approve, little cousin? Or are you laughing at me? No. You’re in agreement with me. Good! Let’s wait until the Mummies are home, and we will tell everyone then.” Pippin rolled over, setting Theo down on the floor by the blocks. “Now, shall I stack these for you to knock down?” With that they set about playing.
Dinner that evening was made tastier with the sharing of good news. All was well with Diamond and Pippin’s little one, though Diamond refrained from going into details as to why she had gone to see the Midwife. It was enough for Pippin that she was obviously happy again. Pippin’s news of a name for the babe, “should the wee one happen to be a lad,” he added with a wink to Diamond, was applauded as a fine choice. If Theodoc and Pippin seemed to pass knowing looks between the two of them, no one else at the table seemed to notice.
That night in their bed, Diamond explained in more detail to Pippin the reason for the trip to Brandyhall’s Midwife.
“She said the babe is fine,” Diamond explained, then shyly added, “But she did suggest we might wish to be a little less . . . less active.” She looked up at her husband quickly. “Mind you, I know it was my doing. No blame at all to you, dear. I want you to understand that. You understand, don’t you?”
Pippin smiled then pulled her close. He had enjoyed all the attention he had been getting, even though it had started to tire him a bit. But he most certainly had no desire to do anything that might trouble the little one or worry Diamond. “I understand, love. It is quite alright with me, as long as you will still snuggle up to me and such.”
“Oh yes!” Diamond followed her words with actions, wiggling herself even closer and more comfortably against Pippin. Soon they were both asleep.
“Uh?” mumbled Pippin in the small hours of the morning. Diamond was cuddled up against his back.
“Ya wan’ somethin’?”
“No, why?” Diamond answered.
“You poked me. There! You just did it again.”
Diamond gasped a little then started to giggle. Pippin rolled over to face her.
“I didn’t poke you.” She patted her bulging tummy. “Someone else did.”
Pippin’s eyes went wide as he placed his hand next to Diamond’s. A moment later he felt a small nudge under his hand. He gasped and looked at his wife.
“You’ve the silliest look on your face, Peregrin.”
He looked back down at his hand on her belly. He gave her tummy the gentlest of pushes. Instantly he felt another nudge against his finger tips. Another gentle push. An answering nudge. Then Diamond was wrapped in Pippin’s arms as they both laughed and kissed.
“I felt him moving!” Pippin crowed.
“She’s alright!” Diamond exclaimed.
They stopped laughing long enough to stare at each other. There was a big, silly grin on each of their faces. They hugged and kissed, giggled and talked until the sun rose to smile upon the Shire.
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.