7. Endings and Beginnings
Dreams. Diamond had mother dreams. Dreams of holding a sweet, warm bundle close in her arms. Tiny fingers wrapped around hers while a pair of bright green eyes lovingly gazed at her. Peregrin kissing a soft little forehead, or lying on his back with a bigger babe balanced atop his shins, their child giggling happily as Da lifted his lower legs up and down. Herself rocking gently in her rocking chair late at night, nursing her babe in the stillness of the quiet house. Peregrin and a wee little one, eyes locked together “talking” as he did with Theodoc.
Diamond woke with a start as once again her internal companion rolled around within her. At least she had gotten some rest. She got up and headed out the door on yet another of her seemingly nonstop trips to the privy, rubbing her aching back as she went. The day was a lovely, warm early spring day. A blue sky filled with gentle sunshine had encouraged the crocuses and hyacinths to bloom. Diamond decided to walk about the grounds. Walking actually felt better, sometimes, than sitting did, though her lower back still bothered her. She was enjoying the flowers while thinking about Sam and Rosie, about Bag End with its happy brood of young Gamgees. Sam had planted this spring garden the first fall that Peregrin and Merry had lived at Crickhollow. Her eyes were on the flowers when she became aware of a gentle, rhythmic clicking teasing at the edge of her hearing. She looked about until she pinpointed the source of the sound. Slowly, silently, Diamond worked her way around the yard so she could approach her quarry from the far side of the tree it was leaning against.
“You’re knitting ”
Pippin jerked in surprise, pulling at the work in his hands thus dropping a few stitches from the needles. He looked up and over his shoulder at his wife, blushing to the tips of his ears in the process. “Yes,” he mumbled, “You weren’t supposed to find out.” He turned back to his work, deftly picking up the dropped stitches before setting it down in his lap.
Using his shoulder for support, Diamond eased herself down to sit on the grass beside her husband. She lifted the knitting from his lap to examine it carefully. It was the front piece to a baby’s sweater. Evenly made stitches of a soft, pale green, wool wove themselves in an intricate pattern.
He didn’t answer.
“Truly. It is beautiful work.” She set the knitting down in her lap, leaned over, took his face in her hands, kissed him, then pulled back trying to look into his eyes but he would not raise them to meet hers. “Now I know why my knitting was getting done faster than my sewing and why it was better than I had ever done before. It is all your work, isn’t it?”
His eyes still downcast, Pippin nodded.
“What is wrong, Peregrin? Surely you aren’t all that upset because I found out you’ve been remaking all of the knitted things for me? I’m really very pleased, darling. I’m a terrible knitter.”
“It’s not something a male hobbit is supposed to do,” was Pippin’s nearly inaudible reply. “Don’t want you thinking me a sissy.”
“You are one of the most masculine hobbits I know, dear,” she chuckled as she ran her fingers through his golden brown curls then kissed his forehead. Then teasing she added, “Although I know your delicate features might make some hobbits think otherwise.”
“Thank you. That is what I need just now, to be reminded I’d make a lovely lass.” He sounded so forlorn that Diamond stopped herself from saying that, the way he was pouting, he did look a bit like a lass or at least a young lad. “I used to get teased a good deal about that when I was younger and always the smallest,” Pippin grumbled.
Diamond thought she might better leave the subject of her husband’s smallish facial features alone. “When . . . why . . . ah . . .” she stumbled, “When did you learn to knit?”
“One of the times I was sick and having to stay in bed. ‘Twas spring, planting season, and I was still recovering from yet another bad cold in my chest. I was about twelve, I think. I was tired of reading, tired of most everything one normally does when one is ill and not allowed up. Everyone helped with planting, so no one was able to be in with me. Well, only to check on me, not to stay. Mum came in one day to start dinner to find me in the most awful shape. Coughing, choking, red in the face, overheated, all from crying. I had gotten myself into a state because I was bored and alone.” Pippin finally looked up at his wife. “I used to throw quite a good fit when I wished.” He smiled shyly as he nodded to Diamond’s large tummy. “Our little one will most likely be a handful. Well, Mum promised me something new to do if I would calm down and behave until after dinner. When dinner was finished, she came into my room with some yarn and a pair of knitting needles to teach me to knit.” Pippin looked down at his handiwork that lay in Diamond’s lap. “I found I liked it and was adept at it. My hands liked being busy while the repetition of the patterns seemed to calm my mind. Usually my mind is rushing about in my head, jumping from one thought to another. But the thoughts flow slower, smoother while I knit. I haven’t done any for many years now. I had forgotten how soothing it is for me.”
Diamond was pleased that her changing the subject had worked. Peregrin had lost the hesitancy he initially had in his voice. “I think it is wonderful, Peregrin. If it calms you then I think you should continue to knit even after our baby is born. Were these the first sweaters you have made?”
Pippin smiled broadly while shaking his head. “I don’t think there is a sweater, gloves, scarf or hat that Merry owns that isn’t one I knitted for him.” He chuckled, his eyes sparkling. “Of course, he was always told my Mum made them for him. And you, young hobbitess, will do nothing to correct that misconception.”
“Neither Merry nor Estella shall hear it from me. Put I will get a better look at those sweaters and things so I can tell you which patterns I want in the items you make for me.”
Pippin closed his eyes and bowed his head to Diamond. “ ‘Twill be an honor, my dearest wife.” He looked up at her, his eyes had a soft glow to them. “I love you. You know that, don’t you? I mean . . . you truly know it? Do I show it well enough? Do I tell you often enough? Do I . . .” His questions were all answered, in a most convincing manner, by her kiss. He held her tightly. There were concerns he had about a couple of things that no amount of passionate kisses would ease.
Pippin grew more anxious with each passing day. He tried to sneak off to knit as much as he could, but more often he took walks about the grounds. He did not care to go too far from Crickhollow.
It was three days later, after the noon meal, when he sat once again playing at blocks with Theodoc that the first of Pippin’s concerns became a reality. Theo had just a few weeks before started making noises that were quite close to words, while pointing at his Mum and Da, or whenever one of the adults in the household left the room he was in. Last week the sounds had become definite words. Merry had glowed with pride, nearly popping the buttons off his waistcoat, when his son reached for him as he mumbled “Dada.” “Mama” and “baba” for bye-bye had quickly followed.
As they played with the blocks, Theodoc suddenly scrunched down and turned his head to look up into his cousin Pippin’s eyes.
“What?” Pippin whispered. “What? I can’t quite . . .” He stopped speaking to just stared into the baby’s deep blue eyes. “That is what happens then. I was wondering when . . .” They stared at each other a bit longer until Pippin felt the presence in his mind fade at the same time his ears heard a new word formed by Theodoc’s sweet little lips.
Pippin picked the sturdy little boy up and held him close as a few tears gathered in his eyes. “Pap-pap,” Theo happily said again as he hugged Pippin’s neck. With Theodoc’s entering into the realm of vocal speech, with his naming of his older cousin, the gift of their mental speech was gone. “Yes,” Pippin murmured into Theo’s ear. “ ‘Pap-pap’ will be fine until the time when you will have all the words in the world to say aloud to me.”
“Oh really, Pippin.” Came Merry’s exasperated voice from behind the book he was trying to read, later that evening. “If you don’t quit this non-stop fussing about I will tackle you if I must and tie you into a chair.”
“Sorry,” Pippin muttered as he left the room. It was not the response Merry had been hoping for. He wanted his younger cousin to settle into a chair and talk to him. Instead Pippin left the room leaving Merry wishing he had said nothing. It was easy enough to surmise what was troubling Pippin. Tooks ofttimes had their babes arrive early. Though not usually fatal, as was more the case within other hobbit families, it was still a serious matter. Pippin had been one of those early Took babies. Though of a tough fiber in most ways, he had been subject to the weak lungs of early born infants, with the frequent chest colds that went with them.
Although nothing had been said by either the Brandybucks or the Tooks who resided in the house known as Crickhollow, it was increasingly apparent that Diamond’s time of labor was nearing sooner than it ought to. Her back was sore. She would occasionally gasp, putting a hand to her belly as though she had felt a sudden pain or tightening there. Her profile had changed as well, it was obvious the babe within her had moved downwards.
Pippin had spoken to Diamond, or tried to, but she kept putting him off. “I’m fine,” she would say then brush him aside to carry on with whatever she had been doing. Diamond remembered her mother having these practice contractions. She refused to let herself get anxious over them, to the point that she wasn’t being alert enough to the fact they were getting more definite as well as more frequent. Neither Took was eating well or getting enough rest.
The next morning, Diamond was up with the sun. After finishing her ablutions and putting on one of the two dresses she had that still fit her, she went out to collect the eggs for the day. She smiled at the sun, at the fresh scents of the flowers that teased her nose, at the cool, tingly feeling of the dew soaked grass on her feet.
Pippin’s night had been a restless one. It had been just a bit before the sun’s rising that he had finally fallen deeply asleep. Through the thick haze in his brain he thought he heard his name being yelled. Someone was shaking him, shaking him hard.
“Pippin Peregrin Took Wake up, Pippin ” Estella was yelling into Pippin’s ear while rattling the bed with her hard shaking of him.
“Pippin. She fell, Pippin. Diamond fell. I’m not strong enough to help her up.” Estella’s fear was in her voice and in her wide eyes.
Pippin nearly knocked Estella over as he leapt from the bed and out the door. He ran through the house, out the kitchen door across the yard to where he saw Diamond laying on her back in the wet grass. He dropped hard to his knees beside her.
She turned her head to look at him, tears were running down her face into her hair and ears. “I slipped . . . on the dewy grass . . . I don’t feel quit right, Peregrin.” She looked like a frighten child pleading with an elder to make everything right.
He kissed her while taking her hands in his. “What doesn’t feel right, my love?” He was afraid to pick her up, afraid to move her, but he knew he could not leave her where she was.
“Dizzy. Winded. I feel like I’ve wet myself. I feel all wet.”
“Her water may have broke,” Estella said. She was on her knees as well at Diamond’s other side.
Pippin nodded to Estella. “Is there any sharp pain anywhere, Diamond?”he asked as he started to gently lift and move her arms and legs. He hoped the terror he was feeling wasn’t showing on his face, that his precious wife would not feel how his hands were trembling.
Diamond slowly shook her head. “No.”
“Can you move your feet?” She did so. “Your legs? Your fingers? Your arms?” Diamond moved each limb as requested.
“Estella, go get Merry . . .”
“I’m here, Pippin.” Merry had quietly come up beside them.
Relief flitted across Pippin’s face then was gone. “Oh, good. Good. Ah, you take her by the shoulders, Merry. I’ll support her in the middle and Estella, you can take her feet as that will be the lightest.”
Estella ran to prop the kitchen door open then returned. They gently lifted Diamond, carefully carrying her into the house to her and Pippin’s bedroom. They laid her on the rug in front of the fireplace first. Merry stoked up the fire, Pippin began removing Diamond’s wet, muddy clothes while Estella went to get the water that had been heating for breakfast needs to wash Diamond off a bit before they put her into her bed. As soon as the fire was going well, Merry left to saddle his pony and ride like a gale to Brandy Hall.
Pippin would not leave Diamond’s side. Her labor was soon well begun and the usual custom was the husband was not to be in the room, unless no females were around to tend to the mother’s needs. Estella kept trying to tend to Diamond but Pippin kept interfering, getting in her way, ordering her about, all the while crooning softly to his wife. Diamond was drifting in and out of a doze which was terrifying Pippin.
“Please, please be alright, Diamond. Please,” he murmured over and over as he laid his head beside hers on the pillow. He gently caressed her full, round belly, feeling every time a contraction came.
“Hurts, Peregrin,” Diamond moaned after another contraction began. “Back hurts.”
He uncovered her and rolled her over on to her side. A dark bruise from her fall had spread itself across her lower back, adding its own pain to the pain from her labor.
“Stay on your side if you can, Diamond. I’ll get some cool water and clothes to put on that bruise.” Estella gently patted Diamond’s leg as she spoke. Pippin glared at her but she just glared back. “It is the proper thing to do, Peregrin Took, while lying on her side might feel better with her contractions anyway. It surely cannot feel good to be lying on that bruise.” Estella left the room, wondering to herself how she was going to keep from killing Pippin before this day was over.
Pippin and Estella, in a tense silence, were busy talking Diamond through contractions that were getting increasingly painful, while changing the compresses on her bruise, when the bedroom door burst open. Pearl (Took) Bolger strode purposefully into the room. She was a healer like her mother and was used to taking charge in either a sick room or when a new babe was coming into the world.
“Yes, Pippin Took. Now out This is no place for a husband to be.”
“I’m not leaving, Pearl.” She recognized the fierce fire in her brother’s eyes. “And what are you doing here anyway? We were expecting Mistress Calendula.”
“Aunt Esme sent word for me to come to The Hall, so I came to The Hall. I arrived last night. When Merry arrived this morning, she suggested I come to attend to Diamond.” A thoughtful look came to Pearl’s face. “One might almost think she knew this would happen,” she whispered, then shook her head sharply to clear it. “Now, out, Little Brother.”
Estella came up beside Pearl, taking hold of her arm. “If I may see you a moment in the hallway?” The ladies left while Pippin turned his attentions back to his wife.
A short while later Pearl and Estella, along with Merry, came back into the bedroom.
“You may stay, Pippin, for a while. If, IF mind you, you can stay out of the way and behave yourself.” The fire in Pippin’s eyes slowly faded at his sister’s words. He nodded his head in compliance. “Drink this tea. You look like death itself,” Pearl added thrusting a mug into her brother’s hands then moving to begin her examination of Diamond. Pippin downed the tea without even noticing the odd flavor it had.
A few moments later a loud moan escaped Diamond. Pippin pushed his way to her side. “I’m here, my love. I’m here,” he said as he grasped her hand.
“And now you aren’t, Little Brother of mine ” Pearl crowed. “Merry, kindly escort your cousin out of here.” Quicker than Pippin could react, Merry grabbed him by the shoulders, pushing him out of the room, down the hall to the parlor where he then deposited Pippin onto the sofa.
Pippin finally started to struggle, but he felt dizzy and weak. He looked up at Merry as though he were about to speak, then fell over sideways on the sofa. Merry pulled the now inert Pippin along the sofa until there was room to lay him out on it legs and all. He put a pillow under his head, covered him with the knitted blanket that was kept across the back of the sofa then bent to kiss Pippin’s forehead.
“Well, that was one way to get you out of their way, my dear, dear cousin,” Merry whispered in Pippin’s unconscious ear before placing another kiss on his forehead. He got the book he was currently reading and settled into his favorite chair. It would be a while before Pippin would wake up from the sleeping draught Pearl had mixed for him.
Merry woke to the soft sounds of someone talking. The fire had burned down, but someone had lit a lamp. In the subtle glow, Merry could see Pearl leaning over Pippin as she pulled the blanket down from his shoulders. He got up and leaned over her shoulder to see what she was doing. Pearl had a small, lightly wrapped bundle cradled in one arm. She had opened Pippin’s shirt to gently tuck the bundle up against her brother’s chest, one end of it nearly touching his face, then she began to cover Pippin and the bundle with the blanket.
“Is that . . . is that . . .” Merry couldn’t quite seem to get the words to come out of his mouth.
“Yes.” Pearl smiled as she spoke.
“Is that safe?” Merry’s voice betrayed his worry. “Won’t Pip crush the babe? And it’s an early little one. Aren’t they supposed to be kept extra warm and such?”
Pearl chuckled then tip-toed to kiss her anxious cousin’s cheek. “Are you suggesting I don’t know how to handle a newborn Took babe, my dear Brandybuck cousin?” Merry mutely shook his head. “I should hope not. Pippin won’t crush the baby and what could be warmer than to be up against his Da’s chest under a nice warm blanket. No, all will be . . . shhh,” she interrupted herself as Pippin sighed and moved.
Pippin’s lips twitched, then barely brushed themselves across a warm soft something. He nuzzled the softness a bit more then inhaled deeply. His arms tightened around the warm bundle they held pulling it closer to his bare chest. The bundle wriggled slightly as Pippin felt the warmth of a breath on his chin. Slowly, his eyes opened. They widened at the sight of a tiny face framed by a soft, flannel blanket. Ever so softly Pippin let out the breath he had gasped in before kissing the little forehead, then he became aware that he was being stared at. He looked up into his sister’s sparkling eyes.
“My son. This is my son.” The words were mere whispers.
Pearl nodded, then her head tipped to one side. “How did you know he’s a lad, Pippin?”
Pippin returned his gaze and his lips to his infant son. He nuzzled the babe’s soft forehead a bit before answering. “Just did. Have all along.” He closed his eyes breathing deeply the sweet baby scent of his son. Then his eyes flew open. He looked at his sister with fear brightening his look.
“Is he alright? I mean . . . his lungs. You know, is his breathing good. Is he strong enough? Is he . . . is he going to . . .” Pippin drew in a deep breath. “Is he going to live, Pearl?”
“He’s a bit earlier than his Da was, but he’s a strong wee lad.” Pippin continued to look anxious. “His breathing is weak, Pippin. He struggled a bit at first. But I truly think he will live. He even nursed a bit.”
Mention of the babe nursing brought another urgent thought to Pippin’s still sleepy mind. “Diamond How is Diamond?”
“She is just fine, dear. She is sore from the birthing and from her fall but neither has hurt her seriously. She’s a fine, strong lass, Pippin. She should be able to have a good many babies with no problems.” She bent to kiss her brother’s cheek. “I will come back for the little lad in a while. Congratulations, Little Brother ” She patted Merry on the shoulder before going back to check on Diamond.
Pippin looked up at his dearest cousin. “I’m a father, Merry. I really, truly am a father. A little lad’s Da, Merry.” He had a large, sappy grin on his face and a tear trickled down his cheek.
“Yes, my Pip. And you will be a grand one. Now, go back to sleep. You can scarcely keep your eyes open.”
“A son, Merry. Our little Faramir Took.” The last was said through a yawn as Pippin’s eyes slowly closed.
A few hours later, Pippin was awakened by a soft crying sound. Something squirmed a bit against his chest. He opened his eyes to look down at his son. “Well, hello, wee Faramir ” Pippin exclaimed before kissing the baby. “All red-faced and wiggling, are you? I know what all that means. You perhaps need changing. You certainly need feeding. That means we have to go find that sweet little Mum of yours.” Pippin kept hold of the blanket while he got off the couch to make his way quietly to the bedroom. He didn’t want to disturb Uncle Merry who had once again fallen asleep in his favorite chair. In the bedroom, he checked Faramir, changed him, then crawled into bed beside Diamond with their baby in his arms.
“Diamond. Diamond, my love. Someone needs you.”
She slowly opened her eyes then smiled at her husband. “Some one needs me?”
“Well no.” Pippin blushed. “Some two need you. One is just being a bit more demanding about it just now.”
The Tooks laughed then talked together about dreams and all the happy days to come. They talked until Faramir finished nursing, then snuggled together, they fell asleep.
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.