101. Chapter 100 - November 1439
Merry set down his pen and blotted the wet ink. Then he gave the page a quick glance. “Well, that chapter is done. What do you think?”
Eight-month old Boromir, cuddled in the crook of his arm, looked up at him and laughed.
Merry grinned back at him. “I think it’s pretty good, too.”
He shifted Bori around so he could bounce him on his knee, which gave his grandson a fit of the giggles. Merry laughed as well. It was wonderful fun having a baby around again, even if just for visits. Pippin had gone outside with the boys and Ivy was spending the day with Estella, so Merry had taken the opportunity to steal his grandson away for a while. Bori had been content to cuddle on his lap while Merry finished a chapter of his book on Shire herb-lore.
“Ah-da!” Bori declared, and reached out for the pen.
“Oh, no, little one. No pens,” Merry put the pen back into its holder, far out of reach of little hands. “Your mum would be quite upset with me if you got all stained in ink.” He’d learned that lesson long ago, while trying to teach four-year-old Ivy to write her name. Who knew little kids could be so messy with a pen? Estella had been furious with him that they’d ruined Ivy’s skirt with ink, and Ivy’s fingers had been stained black for weeks.
Bori looked at him with a pout so like Pippin that it made Merry chuckle. “Sorry, love. It doesn’t work when your dad uses it on me, and it won’t work for you either.” He tapped a finger on Bori’s nose, which made the little boy giggle again, the pen forgotten.
Merry smiled at him. Though he had Pippin’s pout, and perhaps the shape of his father’s chin and mouth, Bori mostly took after his Brandybuck side. He reminded Merry of Theo as a baby, which meant Bori mostly resembled him. He couldn’t help but be a little proud of that.
He planted a kiss on Bori’s blond curls. “So what shall we do now?”
Bori squirmed and stuck a hand in his mouth.
1c;Eat?” Merry looked up at the clock. “I suppose it is that time, isn’t it?” He stood up and balanced Bori on his hip. “Your mum is off somewhere with your gran, so I guess it’s just you and me.”
They could have joined the extended family in the dining room, but that would mean a parade of relatives wanting to hold the baby. Merry was feeling selfish today, and wanted to keep Bori to himself, so they went directly to the kitchen. He figured it was his right as a grandfather to be selfish about his grandchild.
He greeted the kitchen staff and sat at the table to wait while they made lunch for him: sandwiches for him and some porridge and a cup of milk for Bori. Bori had weaned himself recently, when Ivy’s pregnancy had changed her milk, and he actually seemed to enjoy solid foods more anyway--probably because he could fill his stomach faster. A true hobbit.
“Do you need any help, Master Meriadoc?” one of the cooks asked while they waited on the porridge.
He smiled. “No, we’re fine.” Bori was keeping himself amused while they waited, his big blue eyes trying to watch everything going on in the kitchen at once.
“It’s not a bother, sir. I can feed him for you if you need--”
Merry huffed, a little frustrated at the common attitude that only a lass could care for a baby properly. Hadn’t he raised Ivy without a mum until she was three? “Really, Posy. I appreciate your offer, but I am capable of caring for a baby.”
“Right, sir.” She blushed and hurried back to her tasks.
Once the porridge was done, Merry put everything on a tray and carried it back to his study. He sat back at his desk, Bori in his lap. Bori was squirming, reaching for the porridge. “I suppose you’ll want to eat first, Bori-lad?” Merry chuckled.
“Do you need any help?”
Merry looked up. Ivy was standing in the doorway, smiling at him. He shook his head. “No. We’re fine.”
“Are you sure?”
He rolled his eyes. “Ivy. You survived me raising you just fine. So I think I can manage to feed Bori on my own.”
“All right, Dad.” She giggled. She was in a much better mood now that she was no longer sick and tired from early pregnancy. “Well, I’m going to eat with Estella, then.” She patted her belly, already noticeably rounded from her pregnancy. “We’re starved!”
“Ma-ma-ma-ma-ma!” Bori said after Ivy had left.
“Yes, that was Mum, wasn’t it?” He waited a moment, expecting Bori to get upset at Ivy’s disappearance, but Bori made another grab for the porridge instead. Apparently food was more important than Mum.
“I don’t know why everyone thinks I’m not capable of this,” he said as he spooned porridge into Bori’s mouth. “I did manage all on my own with your mum when she was a baby.” He shrugged. “Well, I suppose your dad helped me some.” Merry pondered that for a moment. “But maybe we won’t get into that until you’re much older.”
When their meal was done, Merry leaned back in chair, holding Bori’s hands so the baby could practice standing on Merry’s knees. “You’re a big boy, now, aren’t you?” Merry said. Bori giggled excitedly, watching his own feet, but his little knees weren’t yet used to standing and he soon slid down to sit again. “We’ll practice more later,” Merry told him with a wink.
Then Bori yawned and Merry checked the clock. About time for a nap. He’d make a bed for him on the couch near his desk and work some more on his book while Bori slept. He stood up, snuggling Bori onto his shoulder....and wrinkled his nose. He’d have to take care of Bori’s other end first. Then a nap.
He stepped out into the hallway just as Pippin and the boys were coming in from outside. They were laughing and roughhousing, with Pippin in the middle of it. He had Theo in a head-lock, and Eomer and Fari were pulling at Pippin, trying to rescue Theo.
“Boys! Not in the house!” Merry scolded.
Pippin let go of Theo. “Yes, Dad,” Theo and Eomer said. Pippin grinned at him. “Yes, Dad,” he said, in the same contrite tone, which sent the boys into howls of laughter.
Merry rolled his eyes. “Since you’re here, your son needs a change.” He held out Bori to Pippin.
Pippin backed up, wrinkling his nose. “But you’re so good at it, Merry.” He turned to the boys. “He’s been changing diapers since I was a baby!” The boys snickered.
“You’re old, Dad!” Theo said, grinning.
Merry scowled. “Right, just for that...” He thrust Bori into Theo’s arms. “I think it’s time you boys learned to change a diaper. Pippin will be happy to show you.”
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.