125. Chapter 124 - October 1445
“Oh, Gimli, you’ll have to wait a moment, love...” Ivy quickly pulled the pillows into place on her lap with one hand while she held Legolas in the other. Legolas was whimpering and grabbing at her open blouse. His brother was lying beside her on the couch, howling with hunger. She got Legolas settled on the pillow, tucked under her arm so he was facing her breast. He gurgled happily and took the nipple in his mouth. Then she bent over to scoop up Gimli to settle him on his pillow. When both sons were grunting contentedly at her breasts, she leaned back with a sigh.
At least she was getting faster at this. The first few weeks of the twins’ lives had been stressful, as she tried to figure out how to feed two newborns. She had mistakenly believed it would be easy--she already had practice from nursing Bori and Willow at the same time. But she had forgotten that Bori had been old enough to get himself settled to nurse. And newborns have little patience when you are trying to get their brother latched on.
She looked down at the boys. They were three months old now, so the world was expanding beyond her breasts. They were reaching for each other as they nursed, eyes fixed on the other, and every so often one would pull his mouth away to smile. Ivy smiled, too. Even as newborns they had tended to roll together in their crib, always seeming to need the touch of the other. She often wondered if they had memories of being pressed together in her womb.
The patter of feet and shrill voices in the hall announced the arrival of her daughters. They were followed into the parlor by their grandmother.
“Did you have fun,” Ivy asked them as Willow and Éoleof piled onto the couch next to her.
“We picked apples,” Willow said. “Gran can reach the really high branches. And she got Bori down from the tree when he climbed too high.”
Ivy sighed. Bori was always climbing--fences, ladders, trees--and he never hesitated to leap into the Brandywine, having none of the fear of heights or water that seemed to come naturally to hobbits. And she knew it was only a matter of time before Ari started doing the same. She looked up at her mother. “Where are the boys now?”
“Being spoiled by their grandfather,” Éowyn said, smiling, as she sat in the chair across from Ivy. “Where else?”
Ivy rolled her eyes, smiling. The boys loved when their grandfather came to visit, because he let them get away with so many things. Which drove Pippin crazy. Ivy had her suspicions that her dad did it on purpose, to get back at Pippin for letting her get away with things as a child. Of course, her sons weren’t the only ones happy to see her father again.
“Are you going to go back to Brandy Hall with Dad?” Ivy asked, trying to sound casual. She bit back her grin when her mother’s cheeks turned pink.
“There’s no reason I need to go back,” Éowyn said, “since you had the furniture moved here. I’m quite comfortable here.”
“I think there is a reason,” Ivy teased. “I know you miss him. And as much as I love having your help with the children, the twins are getting easier to manage and I’m not as tired anymore, so...” She grinned, a little suggestively.
“Ivy,” Éowyn sighed. “You know that--”
“Just think about it,” Ivy said with a wink. She knew she was going to get the ‘we’re not quite ready for anything like that’ lecture from her mother. Again. But she didn’t believe it. Not anymore. Not after seeing her parents’ faces today, greeting each other after a month’s separation. Her mother may not go back to Brandy Hall right away, but Ivy was positive now that her mother would not be returning to Rohan anytime soon. And her father was the reason.
Éowyn nodded and didn’t try to argue. Ivy took that as a small victory.
Reg stuck his head in the door. “The messenger is here,” he said. “Have any letters heading south?”
“On Pippin’s desk,” Ivy said. Reg nodded.
“I have some as well,” Éowyn said. She stood and went to the door. “And a package.”
Ivy smiled as she watched her mother leave. Legolas and Gimli weren’t the only new grandchildren Éowyn got this summer. Elboron’s second child, another son, had been born in June. Somewhere in the time spent chasing after her hobbit grandchildren, Éowyn had managed to find time to make clothes to send to little Mardil.
A hand batted Ivy’s breast, letter her know that the boys were finished. She looked around her for a moment, to figure out how to move. “Willow, can you sit back for a moment and take Gimli?”
“Yes, mummy.” Willow settled back into the corner of the couch and Ivy passed Gimli into her lap. Now she could clear away the pillows and get up...
“Me hold baby!”
Ivy cringed. She had a feeling this might happen.
“You’re too little,” Willow said haughtily. “I’m big enough to hold the baby.”
Ivy saw the pout start on Éoleof’s face, a pout that she knew would quickly turn into a tantrum. Her dad said Éoleof got that from her. She shoved the pillows away. “Can you go find Gran, Éoleof?” Ivy asked, hoping to distract her daughter. She was only two and not really able to hold the babies yet. Ivy shifted Legolas around in her arms so she could push herself up from the couch.
“No!” Éoleof crossed her arms, her bottom lip stuck out further, and her cheeks went pink. Ivy cringed. Had she really been this temperamental as a child? She felt sorry for her dad.
“You have to obey mum!” Willow scolded, which of course didn’t help the situation.
Éoleof scowled at her sister. She didn’t like being bossed around by Willow. “No, no, no!”
Gimli startled at his sister’s angry voice and started to whimper. Ivy rubbed a hand over her forehead. “Éoleof!” she scolded, trying to keep her voice low. She didn’t need Legolas upset, too.
“What is going on?” Éowyn asked cheerfully as she came back into the room.
“She wants to hold the baby,” Ivy said quietly, raising an eyebrow.
Éowyn smiled, understanding, and nodded. “I see. Well...” She scooped up Éoleof. “Would you like to go find a treat in the kitchen with me, léofe?”
“Yes!” Éoleof squealed, baby brothers quickly forgotten.
Thank you, Ivy mouthed to her.
Éowyn grinned. “Are you sure you want me to go back to Brandy Hall?”
Ivy pursed her lips. Her father made frequent trips to Great Smials, so her parents would see each other often enough. “Perhaps you can stay a while longer.”
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.