130. Chapter 129 - September 1447
Merry glanced over at Pippin, who was nervously fidgeting on the back of his pony. Ivy had been restless all morning, which had made Pippin restless, and Ivy had finally kicked him out of the Smials. Merry had managed to convince him to go for a ride around the orchard, but only after Pearl had promised Pippin that she’d send someone to fetch them if Ivy started her labor.
He and Éowyn had only returned to The Shire a few days ago and had come straight away to Great Smials. The trip home had taken longer than usual because of heavy storms and they’d feared they would miss their grandchild’s birth. Éowyn had already had to miss another grandchild’s birth, Elboron’s third child, due in August. She had felt torn about leaving, but Elboron convinced her to go. Hildelith would have her mother with her for the birth. Ivy needed Éowyn.
Éowyn also had a hard time leaving Wyn. They were speaking again, at least, but her daughter was still unhappy with her. With both of them. Wyn wasn’t unfriendly towards him, but she was still distant, much like Eomer had been with Éowyn. He’d tried to talk to Wyn, hoping that they could work things out the same as Éowyn and Eomer had. But she wouldn’t have any of it. She blamed him for stealing her mother away--Wyn had become betrothed that summer and was afraid her mother wouldn’t be there for her, being so far away in The Shire. He’d heard that argument loud and clear through the walls of the Steward’s house. The guilt had gnawed at him until Elboron talked him out of it. He and Théodred wanted their mother to be happy and had easily welcomed Merry into their family. In the end, Éowyn had to choose between him and Wyn. He hated that it came to that, but was selfishly relieved that she had chosen him.
A heavy sigh made him look over at Pippin. His friend’s knuckles were white around the reins, his face pinched with worry. Merry fought the urge to chuckle. You would think after seven children, Pippin would be a little more relaxed about this. And Ivy wasn’t even in labor yet, though Éowyn had confided in him--out of Pippin’s earshot--that she expected it could start at any time.
“Perhaps we should go back.” Pippin looked up at him. “I just know it’s gong to start soon. She always gets like this right before the pains start.”
“No, Pippin. She’ll just kick you out again.” Merry gave him comforting smile. “And if she does go into labor, nothing will happen right away.”
Pippin sighed, his shoulders slumping. “I know.” He fidgeted around a little more, nervously running the reins through his fingers, then looked up at Merry, a small smile on his face. “This is our last wait, Merry.” Then he chuckled. “We hope. Or she’ll kill me. Or worse.” He squirmed in the saddle.
Merry laughed. “Had enough of your ‘charm’, has she?”
“We’re starting to run out of room!” He grinned and relaxed a little. “Any more and we’d have to think about evicting some relatives from the Smials.”
They laughed and Merry leaned over to lightly punch Pippin’s arm. “I think twenty-four children from our little Fellowship of Hobbits is a good number. We’re going to take over the Shire as it is!”
“Especially with Theo making eyes at Rose Gamgee!” Pippin winked at him.
“Right.” Merry smiled. Rose’s name had come up a few times in Theo’s conversation the past few days. He was quite pleased with that. He thought Rose would be a wonderful match for his son and she would easily handle future responsibilities as Mistress of Brandy Hall. Though, it did mean he’d have to have a certain talk with Theo very soon, about lasses and the things you want to do with them but shouldn’t until after the wedding.
“Poor Sam,” said Pippin. “If things work out, he’ll finally have to stop calling you ‘Mister’.”
They laughed together. Poor Sam, indeed. Merry just hoped his friend wouldn’t let his stubbornness about class get in the way of letting his daughter be courted by Theo.
Pippin gave a sigh. “I wish Frodo were here. I miss that he didn’t experience this with us. That he didn’t get to be ‘Uncle Frodo’ or have children of his own playing with ours. Do you think he ever fell in love? Do you think he’s got any elf children running around?”
Merry laughed. “Well, considering he’s almost as much of a charmer as you, I wouldn’t doubt it.”
Hoofbeats made them turn in their saddles. It was Fari. As he came closer, Merry saw that he had a big smile on his face. “Ivy’s in labor, Dad.”
Pippin tugged his pony around and took off for home at top speed.
Fari watched his father leave, shaking his head. “Aunt Pearl said it would probably be a few hours and to tell him he didn’t have to hurry home.”
Merry chuckled. “I don’t think it would have mattered, Fari.”
Merry smiled down at the little girl in his arms. It had actually turned out to be a good thing that Pippin had rushed home. This little one had decided to make her entrance rather quickly and had arrived not quite two hours after Fari had come to get them.
“I talked to Theo and Eomer about it first,” Ivy said. “They wanted me to use the name, so I’d have something of her. I just wanted to make sure it was all right with you.”
“Of course, Ivy. It’s wonderful.” Merry wiped at the tear on his cheek. “She would have been proud.” He kissed the baby softly on her forehead. She yawned and opened her eyes. Merry smiled. “Hello, Estella-lass.” He touched her cheek and she turned her head, mouth open and searching. “I think she wants her mum for something to eat,” he said. He passed her back to Ivy and stepped back. Ivy expertly settled the baby at her breast and leaned back into the pillows, a sleepy smile on her face. Pippin sat next to her, completely enthralled with his daughter.
Their quiet moment came to an end when the door opened. The other children came in with Vinca, talking excitedly about their new sister. “Quiet, now!” Vinca scolded, keeping her voice soft. They piled onto the bed, taking their turns to see the baby. Fari, Theo and Eomer hung back by the door. They were at an age when babies didn’t interest them, but that wouldn’t last for long. Merry smiled. It wouldn’t be too many years before they’d be courting a lass and thinking about babies of their own.
“It’s lovely, isn’t it?” Éowyn asked, slipping an arm around his shoulder. She nodded towards the bed. The children had finally settled down, cuddled next to parents or each other, giggling and whispering. Pippin was glowing with happiness, giggling along with his children. Ivy’s expression was utter contentment.
Merry nodded. “It’s the most beautiful sight in the world.”
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.