113. Chapter 112 - May 1443
Pippin gritted his teeth and clenched his fists, the only indication that Ivy’s groans coming from their bedroom affected him. He kept his eyes on the closed door, willing his wife strength and comfort. When her contraction was over, he let out the breath he’d been holding. He wanted to be in there with her. Now that he knew what happened at a birth--well, other than ponies--he wasn’t afraid of it anymore. He wanted to be supporting his wife, just like the Rohirrim did, not sitting here in the parlor doing nothing. But Lily and his sisters had all frowned at him when he suggested it and he didn’t want to raise a fuss. Ivy didn’t need that right now.
Ivy had gone into a depression since hearing of Faramir’s death and Pippin was worried about her. She seemed to have lost interest in this pregnancy. She didn’t have her usual enthusiasm leading up to a birth. She’d fussed over clothes and the crib the last few weeks before their other children were born, but she’d barely done any preparations at all for this one. She spent her days lying in bed, crying or just staring into space. It scared him to see her like this. Even the children were upset, clinging and whiney, sensing something was wrong with their mum. He only hoped the baby would bring Ivy out of it. His greatest fear was that she wouldn’t have any interest in the baby, too mired in her own misery over losing another parent. He knew all too well how easy it was to get caught up in your own misery.
He looked up when the door opened and Merry stepped inside. Merry grinned at him. “No hallway this time?”
Pippin shrugged and smiled back. “It’s a little easier to hear, now that I know what’s going on in there.” He nodded his head towards the door to the bedroom. Another muffled groan came through the door. Pippin held his breath until it was over. “I wanted to be with her, but they wouldn’t let me stay.”
“She’ll be fine, Pip,” Merry said, but he still looked a little worried. Pippin could understand that now. He couldn’t even begin to imagine how it would feel some day, when it was Willow laboring on the other side of a door. “Did you see the kids outside?” he asked, changing the subject to distract them from another groan from his wife. “Fari was going to take them to feed carrots to the ponies. Vinca’s boys were going along, too.
Merry nodded and came over to sit next to him. “They’re fine. Theo and Eomer are with them now, so I think the five boys will be able to keep Ari out from under the ponies feet.”
Pippin chuckled. Ari loved the ponies. He was not quite two and he already sat on a pony like he was born to be there. He probably was, considering he was descended from the kings of Rohan.
Another groan from Ivy. Merry coughed. “How has Ivy been?”
“I don’t know, Merry,” Pippin said. “It’s really affected her, having Ari born when Estella died and now this one with Faramir.” Pippin sighed. “She said this is the last baby. She said she doesn’t want to bring any more children into grief.”
Merry frowned. “I didn’t realize it was that bad.”
“She’s had me worried.” Pippin looked back up at the door. “Lily told me it wasn’t unusual, considering the shocks Ivy had, but...” He sighed again. “She just doesn’t seem herself lately.”
A baby’s cry distracted him from his worries. He grinned at the sound of the healthy wails of his new child.
“Congratulations, Dad,” Merry said, patting him on the back.
Pippin grinned back at him. “Congratulations, Granddad,” he said.
Then the agonizing wait. Pippin stood, not able to sit still anymore. He wanted to just go rushing into the room to see Ivy and the baby, but figured Lily and his sisters would yell at him. Better to wait.
Finally Nel opened the door and he could go in.
Ivy was tucked into bed and Pippin was relieved to see the smile on her face as she looked at the baby in her arms. She looked up at him as he approached. “It’s a girl,” she said happily.
Pippin smiled and leaned down to kiss her. “How are you?” he asked.
“Tired!” she said. She lifted the baby slightly. “Would you like to hold your daughter?”
Pippin took the baby from her, cuddling the warm little bundle to his chest. He pulled back the edge of the blanket a little to look at her. A tiny red face squinted back at him. He gasped at the sight of her. Though she was still red and squished, he could already tell she wasn’t going to favor his looks like her siblings. He turned to Merry. “Look at her, Merry!” he breathed.
Merry came over to see his granddaughter. He grinned and looked at his daughter. “She looks like you, Ivy,” he said.
Ivy gave a tired smile. “Well, I couldn’t let Pippin have all the children take after him.”
Pippin chuckled softly and kissed his daughter’s brow. “You’re beautiful, love,” he whispered to her. He spent a moment more admiring her--her tiny fingers and soft skin and the wisps of fine, still-damp hair that were the same as Ivy’s as a baby. He gave her another gentle kiss. “I think your granddad wants to meet you,” he said softly and passed the baby to Merry. Then he sat next to Ivy and kissed her. “She’s beautiful, just like her mother,” he said. He caressed Ivy’s cheek, brushing a thumb over her smiling lips. He was so grateful Ivy was happy.
“So what’s her name?” asked Merry.
Pippin paused for a moment. Naming the boys was easy, as they were being named after the Fellowship. They had two names picked out for another girl, a hobbit name and a Rohirric name. Pippin smiled. After seeing her, he was certain which name his daughter would get. “Éoleof,” he said, and shared a smile with Ivy. “This little girl needs a Rohirric name.”
“Éoleof,” Merry said to the baby, gently rocking her in his arms. “Does that mean I get to teach you to gallop the pony and use a sword when you’re five?” he crooned to her.
Pippin looked up in horror. “No!” he exclaimed. “You are not going to teach your five-year-old granddaughter to...” He stopped. Merry was grinning at him and Ivy was giggling. He gave Merry a sheepish smile, suddenly feeling very guilty about teaching those things to five-year-old Ivy.
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