121. Chapter 120 - December 1444
“Can you believe it’s been twenty-five years?”
Merry smiled at Éowyn. They had celebrated Ivy’s birthday today. Twenty-five years. “No,” he chuckled. “And it seems to have gone by even faster to me. I was supposed to have another five years or so before she’d even be thinking about marriage, and I already have grandchildren.” He winked. “Not that I’m complaining about having grandchildren.”
Across the parlor, Pippin sat on the floor in front of the fire, his younger children cuddled around him. He was telling them a story about Bilbo, the part about Thorin and the dwarves showing up at Bag End, complete with the song about breaking dishes. Fari, Theo and Eomer were sprawled on the floor nearby, pretending to not be interested in Pippin’s story.
Ivy was on the couch behind her family, her feet tucked up under her, smiling and laughing along with Pippin’s story. She kept one hand resting on her belly. Merry smiled. Both Éowyn and Lily were certain that Ivy was pregnant again.
“She looks so happy,” Éowyn said.
“They both do.” Merry watched Pippin, smiling as his friend cajoled the three older boys into doing the voices for the trolls. Willow and Éoleof were on Pippin’s lap, Bori and Ari were leaning on his knees. He had never seen Pippin so happy than when he was with his family.
They were all laughing now, as Fari tried to make his voice deep for Bert the Troll. Merry wished Fari could have had a childhood like this. Fari was certainly happier now, too, but Merry still saw moments of melancholy in the boy. He worried sometimes, what Fari’s unhappy childhood had done to him. But tonight was not the time to worry over such things. They were all happy here together and what had happened in the past was over and done with.
Éowyn scooted closer to him and he took her hand, self-consciously glancing up at Eomer, but Eomer was engrossed in Pippin’s story. Merry relaxed. He was careful in his affection towards Éowyn when Eomer was around. He knew his son still wasn’t comfortable with their relationship and he wanted to give Eomer a chance to get used to the idea. At least he wasn’t hostile about it anymore. Theo had said he’d had a talk with Eomer, but Merry didn’t pry into what was said. The boys were old enough to work these things out themselves.
“Time for bed,” Pippin announced after Bilbo arrived in Rivendell, and four little voices protested.
“We can put them to bed,” Éowyn said.
“Go with your Gran and Granddad,” Pippin said. The children got up, still looking put out that they had to go to bed. Pippin moved onto the couch with Ivy and kissed her.
“Ugh!” Theo groaned. “If you’re going to do that, we’re leaving, too.”
Pippin broke the kiss and looked at Theo. “That was the plan.” Ivy giggled and pulled her husband close again and kissed him. The boys made noises of disgust and got up and left.
Merry chuckled and picked up Éoleof. “Let’s get you off to bed,” he said, taking Ari’s hand, “so your mum and dad can... have some time to themselves.”
“They’re just kissing again,” Bori pouted as he stomped out the door. “They do that all the time. Why do we have to go to bed?”
“Dad said so, Bori,” Willow scolded, sounding just like her mum. Merry shared a look with Éowyn, both of them biting back laughter.
They got the children tucked into bed, with only a few small protests between the yawns, and then they stood out in the hall, wondering what to do next.
“I’m not going back in there,” Merry chuckled, nodding towards the closed door of his daughter’s parlor.
Éowyn took his hand. “Well, you may come tuck me in if you like.”
Merry squeezed her hand and winked at her. “I think I would like that very much.”
“I don’t think your mum and dad are coming back,” Pippin said.
Ivy shared a grin with him. Even if Bori had put up a fight about going to bed, it wouldn’t have taken this long to get him to settle down. “Don’t you think they look happy?” she sighed.
“They do,” Pippin said. He kissed her brow. “But you mustn’t get your hopes up for anything, love.” He paused for a moment, as if contemplating something. “Your dad loves Éowyn, but he’s not sure about marrying again.” He gave her a little squeeze. “And you probably shouldn’t tell him that I told you that.”
Ivy nodded and snuggled down to lay her cheek on Pippin’s chest. “I know,” she said. Éowyn had said the same thing to her. She wished with all her heart that her parents would marry, but she wanted them to be happy. And if they were happy to just enjoy each other’s company, if they were happy with Éowyn returning to Rohan, then she would accept it. But her mother would be here for at least another seven months or so, until after the baby was born, so she had some hope that perhaps her parents would change their minds in that time.
She yawned, a huge yawn that she felt into her toes, then lifted her head to smile at Pippin. “Your child is wearing me out,” she said. The busy day was quickly catching up with her. She was exhausted much of the time with this pregnancy, more than with any of the others. She was sure she spent more time napping than awake.
He kissed her and slid his hand down to press his palm to her belly. “Sorry about that,” he said.
“You should be,” she murmured sleepily.
He chuckled and rested his cheek against her brow. “Did you enjoy your birthday today?” he asked. “When you were awake, at least...” He yelped and squirmed when she poked a finger in his side.
“Yes, I enjoyed my party,” she said, trying to glare at him, but it didn’t work because he was grinning at her and she couldn’t help but smile back at him. “Do you know it’s my first birthday with both my mum and dad?”
“Well, except for your very first one,” Pippin said. “Your mum had to be there for that one, and she made your dad be there, too. And Faramir.” He snickered. “I’ve never seen your dad so frightened as he was right before he went into that room. Not even while facing all those orcs.”
Ivy rolled her eyes. “I think there’s another hobbit who was scared to death of births.” She gave him a pointed look.
“I got over it,” he complained. “And I would have been there for Éoleof, but I got kicked out.” He rubbed her belly. “Maybe your mum can convince Lily and my sisters to let me stay for this one.”
Ivy snorted. “I don’t know if even my mother--slayer of the Witch-King of Angmar--is brave enough to stand up to Lily and Pearl.”
They laughed and then he leaned in to kiss her, but was stopped by another huge yawn.
“Sorry,” Ivy mumbled under her hand. She was having a hard time keeping her eyes open now.
“I think it’s your bedtime as well,” he said. He unwound his arms from around her and stood, then took her hands and pulled her to her feet.
“Bed sounds nice,” Ivy said. “But first I need to use the privy.” Another thing pregnancy did to her, and it seemed even worse this time around. She walked through the quiet hallway, slowing a little as she passed her mother’s door. She heard a sound that made it quite obvious where her father was. She giggled happily into her hand. Pippin was right, she knew she shouldn’t get her hopes up. But she couldn’t help it.
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.