122. Chapter 121 - April 1445
It had been a long time since Ivy had been in Hobbiton on a market day and she was glad she had such a lovely spring day to enjoy it. Pippin had needed to come to see Sam--an official visit between Thain and Mayor--and Ivy decided to take a walk while they talked. Rosie and the children were away visiting the Cottons, so she was on her own with her children today.
Ivy shifted Éoleof in her arms and stretched her back. She hoped Fari would return soon, after buying sweets for everyone, and Ivy could pass Éoleof off to her brother. Her daughter still insisted on being carried, though she was almost two, and it was getting difficult for Ivy to carry her. She was five months pregnant now and was quite obviously showing. It kind of worried her that she was so big so soon. She worried this baby would be large, like her.
The other children tagged along behind her. Ari had a tight hold on her skirt and Bori and Willow were on her other side, whispering and giggling to each other. Ivy was kind of worried about that as well, wondering what the two were up to.
She startled when someone stepped in front of her. She gave a surprised gasp when she saw it was Diamond.
The last time she had seen Diamond had been her father’s birthday party nine years ago, when things had been so bad for all of them, only two months before the divorce and Diamond went back to Long Cleeve. Ivy had heard that Sancho had broken things off with her, having brought the Proudfoot family dishonor by the affair. To Ivy’s amusement, he had eventually married one of the girls who had been chasing after Pippin.
She wondered what Diamond was doing here in Hobbiton. Possibly visiting one of her few friends or relatives. But Ivy didn’t really care. She only cared about getting away from the old cow. She broke eye contact and started to pass by, but Diamond stepped in front of her again. She gave Ivy a look of contempt. “Well, well, if it isn’t the Thain’s wife. Or is it his daughter? I can’t really keep it straight. You have been both, haven’t you?”
Ignore her, ignore her, Ivy chanted to herself. She’s looking to make a scene. She gave a quick glance around. No one seemed to have noticed them, as they were off on the edge of the market.
“I just couldn’t believe it when I heard,” Diamond exclaimed snidely. “Peregrin chasing after his little cousin, a girl still in her teens!” She wrinkled her nose. “I’d heard the Big Folk breed quite young, but I never quite believed it. Obviously it’s true.” She sniffed and looked Ivy up and down. “I see he’s been busy,” she continued, nodding towards Ivy’s round belly and then running her disdainful gaze over the children. “I always said associating with the lower classes will rub off on a person. He’s got you pushing out brats like his friend the mayor.”
Ivy gritted her teeth. She needed to avoid a confrontation. She wouldn’t give Diamond what she wanted. She’d just ignore her and go find Fari--
“What is it he gets from you? Does he just enjoy young girls or is it because you’re Meriadoc’s daughter?” Ivy narrowed her eyes, and Diamond smirked at her. “You know people have always talked about how ‘close’ they are. He couldn’t have the father, so he took the daughter instead?” Diamond sniffed. “I suppose your father wasn’t interested. His tastes do seem to run a bit taller.”
Calm. Ignore her, Ivy told herself. She needed to get the children away from this woman. She needed to get away from her. Her fist clenched and she worked to hold back her anger. The Thain’s wife punching out his former wife would certainly make the gossips happy, but Pippin didn’t need it and it wasn’t something she wanted to do in front of the children.
“So when did Peregrin start bedding you?” Diamond leaned towards her, sneering at her. “Or can’t you remember that far back?”
Ivy fist clenched tighter. She was going to do it. One more word...
Fari stepped up next to them. Ivy wondered how much he’d heard. “Is she bothering you, Mum?”
Both women looked at him. Ivy furrowed her brows at his emphasis on the last word. He’d never called either of them ‘mum’.
“Why no, Faramir,” Diamond said in a sickly sweet voice, “she’s not bothering me at all.”
Fari turned on Diamond. Ivy was shocked to see how much hatred could suddenly come over such a sweet, young face. “I wasn’t talking to you! I was talking to my mother!” he said angrily. He turned to Ivy. “Are you ready to go?” he asked.
“Yes, Fari,” Ivy said, keeping her voice calm, trying her best to ignore Diamond. “Could you take your sister, and--”
Diamond laughed. “She’s not your mother, Faramir.” She looked at Ivy. “The adoption won’t change the fact that I gave birth to him. He’s my son, not yours.”
Fari was suddenly in Diamond’s face. He was taller than her now and Diamond cringed when he stepped towards her. “I am not your son!” Fari’s said angrily. “I was happy when my dad got rid of you! Dad was actually worried that I might be hurt that you left, but it was the best day of my life.” He stepped back. “You hate Dad and me, and I hate you, too,” he said, his voice calm and cold.
Ivy saw the rest of the market had stopped, finally noticing their confrontation. Every eye was on them. A woman had sidled up close to Diamond, who was gaping at Fari. “We should be going, Di--”
“Don’t ever bother any of us ever again,” Fari said, loud and clear, keeping his eyes on Diamond. “I heard everything you said to Ivy and I’m telling my Dad about it.” He looked around at all the faces watching them, then turned to Ivy and took Éoleof. His cheeks were flushed and he wouldn’t meet Ivy’s eyes. “Ready to go?” he asked his young siblings. They all turned and walked into the center of the market, leaving a stunned Diamond behind.
Ivy didn’t know what to say. She hadn’t realized just how much anger Fari had in him. They were some distance away when Ivy finally turned to him. “Fari? Are you all right?””
He looked up at her and she was surprised to see a smile on his face. “I’ve always wanted to say something to her,” he said. “I feel better now.”
Ivy smiled back.
“I... I can’t believe she’d pull something like this.” Pippin sputtered, furious, having just listened to Fari’s story of what had happened with Diamond. Ivy was glad Sam had offered to take the other children outside. She’d never seen their father so angry. He fists were clenched, his face red... if they were home and not guests at Bag End, Ivy was certain he would have thrown something by now.
“She was just trying to get a rise out of me,” Ivy said to her husband, keeping her voice calm. “It didn’t work--”
“She shouldn’t have done it! She shouldn’t be trying to upset you!” His hands were clenching. “Not in your condition!”
“I’m fine,” Ivy said. She patted her belly. “We’re fine.” She glanced up at Fari and smiled. “Besides, Fari told her off. I didn’t have to do a thing.”
Pippin smiled at Fari and Ivy saw the pride in his face. “I’m proud of you, Fari,” he said.
Fari shrugged, looking embarrassed. “I just didn’t want her saying those things to Ivy,” he said, staring at his feet.
“If all she can do is spout lies to try to hurt us, then we don’t have anything to fear from her,” Ivy said.
“She still shouldn’t have said those things,” Pippin muttered.
“Can I...?” Fari gestured towards the door. His father nodded and Fari took off out of the parlor and out the front door.
“He was so grown up today,” Ivy said. “He hates her so much--gods, Pippin, you wouldn’t believe the look he had on his face!--but he stayed calm.” She smiled. “He called me ‘mum’ in front of her.”
“You are his mum,” Pippin said. “Just as much as Estella was your mum.”
Ivy nodded. She knew that. But it still felt good to hear it.
“I had hoped we were rid of her for good,” Pippin muttered. “But if she has friends in Hobbiton...” He frowned. “I don’t want her bothering Fari, or you, or any of the children.” He fidgeted with his cold pipe, still agitated. “I suppose I can have a word with the Shirrif, see if there’s a way to keep her away from you--”
“We’re fine, Pippin. The children are always with me or Fari, and I doubt she’ll try anything again. I think Fari really surprised her today, that he isn’t the little boy she can bully around anymore. She’s a coward, Pippin. She decided to confront me when I’m obviously pregnant, a baby in my arms, and children around me.” Ivy grinned. “Just wait and see what happens if she tries it again when I’m not burdened.”
Pippin cracked a smile. “I think I’d actually feel a little sorry for Diamond.”
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.