124. Chapter 123 - July 1445
Ivy was into her eight month when her labor started, just small pains at first that she didn’t think much about--she’d had these early pains with the others--but they soon became regular and she was spotting blood. The day she had worried so much about was finally here.
“It’s a good sign that you’re early,” her mother told her. “Twins are often early.”
Ivy nodded and tried to smile at her mother’s encouragement. She wanted very much to believe it was twins, like her mother did, but she couldn’t let herself hope.
The pains stopped in the afternoon, but Lily was sure they’d start again within a day. She gave Ivy some tea--a mixture meant to calm her--then sent her to bed to rest. But Ivy couldn’t sleep, her mind a whirl of worry. She had a heavy feeling in her heart, knowing something bad could happen. She could die and probably take this new baby with her, leaving Pippin alone and her children without a mother. She sniffled.
“Ivy?” Pippin sat down next to her and leaned over to put his arms around her. “It will be fine,” he murmured into her ear.
She clutched at him. They were going to let him stay with her. She was grateful for that, but it was also another sign they were so worried about her. Lily and Pearl had never even tried to argue about Pippin staying. “Promise me that if something goes wrong, if I don’t survive, you won’t blame the baby.”
“Ivy!” Pippin pulled back to look at her, horrified.
“Promise me, Pippin!” She wiped at her eyes. “Bluebell Took, who lives in the rooms near Vinca, is raising her niece because her sister died during the birth and her sister’s husband wants nothing to do with his daughter.” She sniffled again. “Please. I need to know.”
He studied her for a moment, frowning, and at first she thought he would try to argue with her. But then he lay his hand on her belly and touched his brow to hers. “I would never blame the baby, Ivy. I promise you.”
She pressed her hand over his. She should never have doubted him. “I love you,” she whispered.
“I love you,” he murmured into her ear. He kissed her cheek. “Now try to get some rest.”
He sat up and she grabbed his arm. “Stay with me?”
“Of course.” He lay down behind her, his arm around her. With Pippin’s comforting warmth next to her, she was finally able to sleep.
Lily was right. Ivy’s pains started again in the night, more intense this time. The baby--babies?--was definitely coming now.
Pippin supported Ivy as she walked around their bedroom on shaky legs, occasionally stopping for a contraction. Lily and his sisters didn’t dare try to make him leave this time, not with Ivy so scared. She clung to him, nearly in tears, through every pain. He felt helpless that all he could do was rub her back and whisper encouragement in her ear.
Her father arrived near midnight, just as Ivy had a particularly strong contraction. Pippin saw Merry’s face go white.
Merry nodded towards the door to the parlor. “I’m going to go wait outside...”
“No! Don’t leave me!” Ivy turned to her father and grabbed his shirt in her fist. “I need you here, Dad!”
“All right, Ivy-lass,” Merry said and put his hand over hers. “I won’t leave you.”
Pippin rubbed her back. “Do you want me to walk you around some more or do you want your dad?”
She looked at him with wet, tired eyes. “I want my Dad, Pippin,” she sniffled.
He kissed her cheek, then turned to Merry. “Just hold her up while she walks around. It helps to speed things up.” Merry looked terrified and Pippin squeezed his shoulder. “Don’t worry, she’s doing all the work.”
Pippin watched as Ivy clung to her father through another contraction. Merry held her, murmuring in her ear, the fear in his eyes replaced by concern. Pippin gave Merry an encouraging smile, then went over to Éowyn. She was standing at the table, discreetly examining the contents of a small, flat, wooden box. Pippin saw the glint of silver in the candlelight. Knives.
Éowyn glanced up at him as he approached. “She’s getting close now,” she whispered. She lay a hand on his shoulder. “How are you?”
Pippin shrugged. He was exhausted and frightened and ridden with guilt. What could he say?
Éowyn closed the box. “I need you to go boil these for me, Pippin. Put some of this in the water.” She placed a packet of herbs--the familiar scent of athelas among them--on top of the box.
Pippin felt sick. “Éowyn...” he started to protest.
“I hope I won’t need them, Pippin,” she whispered. “But I need to have them ready.” There was a slight shake in her voice. “I’ll ask Lily--”
“No.” He took the case from Éowyn’s hand. He felt bad for feeling sorry for himself. If things went wrong, Éowyn would have her daughter’s life in her hands. He couldn’t make her carry that burden completely alone. “I’ll get them ready.”
“Thank you,” she whispered. She looked back at Merry and Ivy on the far side of the room. Lily was there, too, talking to Ivy. “Merry doesn’t know about this. I couldn’t...” Éowyn bowed her head. “I didn’t want to worry him.”
She took his hand. “Have you decided?”
He felt sick. He hated this. He hated making this decision. She’d given him until this day to make it. He took a deep breath. “Do whatever you have to do to save Ivy,” he whispered. He tried very hard to push away the thoughts of what that meant for the child.
Éowyn squeezed his hand and he turned and left, concealing the small box from Ivy and Merry.
“Where are you going?” Ivy called out to him, her voice panicked.
“He’s running an errand for me,” said Éowyn, keeping her voice cheerful. “He’ll be right back.” Ivy nodded and turned back to her father.
Pippin rushed out of the room, no longer able to hold his composure. Tears were flowing freely as he walked down the hall. He hoped Ivy would forgive his choice, to save her rather than the baby if the choice had to be made. It was selfish, but he knew he couldn’t live without Ivy. Éowyn had left the decision up to him. He hoped Ivy would forgive them both for that.
He met Pearl in the hallway, carrying linens. They had talked to Pearl about what could happen. She and Lily would assist Éowyn if necessary. But no one else knew about this possibility--not Vinca nor Nel nor Merry.
Pippin held up the box. “I’m just going to boil the knives.” He felt sick again and slumped against the wall. Pearl pulled him into a tight hug and Pippin choked on a sob. “I’m scared, Pearl,” he whispered.
“It will be all right, baby brother,” she said soothingly. “Ivy will get through this. She’s a Took, a Brandybuck and one of those horse people. She can’t help but be tough!” Pearl pulled him down for a kiss and squeezed his hand. Then they parted.
Pippin was thankful it was night and he had the kitchen to himself. Once the water was boiling he dropped the knives in. He couldn’t look at them. He lay out a clean cloth to wrap them in and waited.
His mind raced, images from his nightmares coming back. What would he tell his children if their mother died? How could he live without his Ivy? He listened to the rattle of the blades being tossed in the boiling water. He knew Éowyn was being cautious. He knew she wanted to believe everything would be fine. But he couldn’t help that familiar feeling of dread, that his happiness could never last.
When he returned to the room, Ivy was on the birthing stool with Éowyn kneeling in front of her, Nel supporting her from behind. Merry sat on the bed in a daze, watching them. Pearl was next to him, her arm around Merry, comforting her cousin. Pippin walked over and set the box on the table. He touched the lid, willing that it would not need to be opened. He turned and found Merry standing next to him.
“What’s in there, Pip?” he asked quietly.
Pippin shook his head. His tears started again and he hurridly wiped them away.
Merry grabbed his shoulder and looked him in the eye. “Pippin, what’s the matter?”
“I need to be with Ivy.” He pulled away from Merry and went over to his wife. She was straining, her hands gripping the side of the stool so hard her knuckles were white. When it was over, he took Nel’s place behind her. Ivy leaned back against him and grabbed his hand, clutching it desperately. He looked at Éowyn.
She smiled at him. “She’s doing good, Dad,” she said.
Pippin nodded and rubbed Ivy’s hand. She was doing good. Everything would be fine. He wanted so much to believe it.
He lost all track of time after that, his mind completely focused on his wife. Time was measured in pushes and the rest Ivy was given between them.
Éowyn’s surprised gasp startled him, and his stomach clenched in fear that something was wrong, but he relaxed when he saw she was smiling.
“Here we are!” she said, smiling up at her daughter. “Just one or two more...”
The next push sent a tiny baby sliding into his grandmother’s hands.
“A boy,” Éowyn said, working quickly on the floor between Ivy’s legs. A high-pitched squall soon filled the room. “And he’s perfect.”
Ivy sagged back against his chest. breathing hard. Pippin wiped her sweaty brow. “He’s perfect,” he whispered in her ear.
Éowyn handed the baby to Nel, then turned back to Ivy. “Let me see if I can feel anything...”
Pippin didn’t see what Éowyn was doing, too engrossed with watching his sister carry the wailing baby to the table to clean him up. He looked the size of any hobbit baby, maybe even a little small. Which must mean...
“It is twins!” Éowyn exclaimed. “I can feel the other baby.”
Ivy laughed and cried at the same time and Pippin kissed her sweaty brow. “Everything is all right, love,” he whispered to her. He smiled as Nel handed the baby to Merry. Merry stared at his new grandson in amazement.
Lily leaned over Éowyn’s shoulder. “How long until the next one?”
Éowyn shook her head. “It could be a few minutes or a few hours.”
“Hours?” Ivy groaned. Pippin chuckled and squeezed her hand. She turned and looked at him. “At least we don’t have to worry anymore,” she said softly. He leaned in to kiss her but was interrupted by a groan as she pushed again.
Just minutes after the first, another boy appeared, his wails soon joining his brother’s. Éowyn passed him to Pearl. “I’m going to go check the babies, léofe,” she said, smiling broadly at Ivy. “Though, they certainly sound healthy enough!”
Ivy nodded, then turned to look at Pippin, smiling so much she glowed with happiness. Pippin embraced her. He felt like a great weight had been lifted, all their fears of the last few months suddenly gone. He hadn’t lost Ivy and now he had two new babies to love.
Lily and Nel got Ivy cleaned up and tucked into bed, while Pearl left to see if the children were awake to come see their new brothers. Pippin sat on the bed next to Ivy, and Éowyn and Merry brought them the babies.
Éowyn handed him a baby and Pippin cuddled the tiny boy in his arms. He was small, but not much smaller than Ari had been.
“You two certainly worried us,” Ivy whispered to the baby in her arms. She planted a gentle kiss on his brow.
“They’re already troublemakers,” Merry said with a chuckle. “Too bad Sam already has a Merry and Pippin, right Pip?”
Pippin laughed. “Actually, this clears up a dilemma we had. We couldn’t decide which name to pick next for a boy, but they solved that for us.”
Ivy gave a tired smile. “We’d have never heard the end of it if one of them got a baby named after him and the other didn’t.” She brushed her finger over her son’s cheek. “Legolas.” She looked at Pippin.
“Gimli,” he said, and kissed his new son.
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.