“Are they here yet?” he asked quickly.
He looked up as if to chastise her for wasting his time. “You know who.”
She smiled, winking at Acacia as she finally came through the door. “Do you know who he means, Acey?”
Acacia smiled. “I think he means Uncle Paladin’s family,” she said innocently.
“Now how did you hear they were coming?” Esmerelda teased.
Merry couldn’t stand it any longer. “Mum!” he whined.
She laughed. “Yes, yes, they’re in the Great Room.”
Merry bolted toward said room, Acacia behind him, trying to keep up. As he turned the last corner into the room, he slammed into someone, toppling them both to the ground. He scrambled to his feet, helping his older cousin up.
“Sorry, Pearl,” he told her hastily. “I hear you have a new sister. Where is she?”
The hobbit-lass laughed. “I’m afraid you’ve been misinformed,” she told him. His face dropped. She waited a moment to let the disappointment hit before adding, “It’s a brother.”
Merry grinned ecstatically. “A boy! That’s even better!” She looked insulted, as did Acacia, who’d caught up with him in time to hear the last bit of the conversation. Merry didn’t seem to notice their expressions. “Where is he?” he demanded. Pearl pointed to another part of the room, where his aunt Eglantine sat, already surrounded by other female relatives.
He ran to her, or rather to the baby in her arms. His momentum would have sent him into her lap had he not been suddenly pulled back by Acacia grabbing his collar. This gave him enough time to remember his manners.
“Good afternoon, Aunt Eglan,” he said, forcing himself to look at her instead of the baby.
She smiled. “Hello, Merry, Acacia.” She was a bit kinder than Esmerelda, as she didn’t try to put off the poor boy anymore. “There’s someone I’d like you to meet.” She turned the infant to face him. Merry’s mouth fell open with wonder at the little hobbit before him. “This is your new cousin, Peregrin, but you can call him Pippin.” She set him gently in Merry’s arms.
Acacia looked over his shoulder at Pippin. “Aww...he’s so cute,” she cooed.
A wicked grin spread across Merry’s face. “Yeeees...cuuuute.”
Acacia cocked an eyebrow at him. She could only imagine what evil thoughts were filling her brother’s head, ways to corrupt the tiny life he held. She decided it was time to intervene. “Can I hold him, Aunt Eglan?”
The hobbit woman smiled kindly. “Of course you can, Acey.”
Without waiting for further prompting, Acacia liberated Pippin from Merry’s clutches. As she looked down at the baby, with his adorably pointed ears, feet that already looked overly large, and perfectly groomed mass of hair, a strange feeling overcame her. She saw the adoration in the eyes of those around her as they watched the child, yet all she could feel was the sense of awe that comes from such close proximity to any infant. She felt no kinship to the child. He just looked so...alien. And suddenly, she wished for home, for her own family. ‘How strange,’ she thought, ‘that now, surrounded by so many people and so much love, I’ve never felt so lonely.’
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.