3. Chapter 2 - November 1419
Pippin came into their parlor, carrying a tray of tea and cakes. Pippin had been the one to ask Frodo about living at Crickhollow. A blazing row with his father over his sudden journey had sent Pippin running from Tuckborough to hide at Bag End. Frodo had took pity on his cousin and handed the cottage over to him. Of course Pippin had insisted that Merry come too. And to be honest, Merry enjoyed the idea of living quietly away from the chaos of Brandy Hall. They'd be Master and Thain someday and he figured they deserved a nice quiet life before responsibilities to family and the Shire overwhelmed them.
Merry had just raised his tea cup when a pounding on their door interrupted his nice quiet day. He sighed.
"I'll get it," Pippin said, getting up to go to the door. "But if it's anyone with a job for us to do, I'm slamming the door and locking it! Oh! Hello, Folco!" Pippin said as he opened the door. "Would you like some tea?"
"Hello, Pip. I've brought a message for Merry," Folco said, holding out an envelope. "I won't be able to stay for tea, though," he said sadly, eyeing the cakes on the parlor table hungrily. "I'm on duty." Merry smiled at the thought of Folco Boffin, whose biggest responsibility had been deciding whether to have ale or whiskey, being one of the bridge guards.
Folco stepped into the parlor and handed Merry the envelope. "It was delivered by an elf!" he said. "A very tall fellow he was!" He shook his head. "Anyway, he said he'd be camping in the Old Forest to wait for your answer."
Merry examined the envelope, wondering what the elves wanted with him. He broke the unmarked seal and pulled out the letter.
My dearest Merry,
I am sorry to be contacting you under these circumstances, but I do not know what else to do. I am with child. It is yours. I was only sure of my condition after you had left for the Shire.
I have come to Rivendell, to stay with a friend of Queen Arwen's. Faramir is with me. We were married in September. He knows everything about us and understands. However, I cannot keep the child. It would be too difficult for a hobbit child to grow up in Gondor.
I am asking if you will take the child. If you will, it will be born in December, here in Rivendell.
If you are unable to take the child, I understand. It is a great responsibility I bring to you. I will then find a home for it with a hobbit family or perhaps here among the elves.
I am sorry, Merry, for putting this burden on you.
Merry just stared at the letter, his heart pounding. Éowyn was pregnant? She was going to have his child?
"Merry, what is it? You're as white as a sheet!" Pippin came over and leaned in to look at the letter, but Merry quickly folded it up.
"I need to go to Rivendell," he said, standing up. "Tonight." He pushed past Pippin, to head to his room to pack, but Pippin caught his arm.
"I'm going with you, of course," he said, "but I'd like to know why I'm going."
Merry looked at Pippin. Of course Pippin would come. He couldn't stop him if he wanted to and besides, he figured he'd need his best friend on this journey with him. He glanced at Folco, watching them curiously, then back to Pippin. "All right, Pip. I know you'd just follow anyway." He looked to Folco. "Could you watch the house for us?"
"Sure, Merry," Folco said.
"And could you let our families know we've gone to Rivendell." He looked at the letter in his hand. "I don't know how long we'll be there."
Folco nodded and Merry went to his room.
He found his pack, stashed away at the bottom of the wardrobe. He threw it on the bed and then grabbed some clothes, stuffing them carelessly in the pack. His mind was numb, still not quite grasping what he had just read in the letter. He heard Folco leaving and then Pippin came in a few moments later.
"I think Folco's a bit put out you didn't tell him what's going on," said Pippin. Merry didn't answer, his mind still whirling with what he had read. "Are you going to tell me what's going on?"
Merry stopped his packing. He had never told Pippin about Éowyn. He had always considered it a private matter between the two of them. But it wouldn't be private for much longer.
"The letter was from Éowyn."
"Éowyn? What's she have to do with Rivendell?"
"She and Faramir are there." Merry sighed. "Look, Pip, there are some things I haven't told you about. Things that happened while you were in Gondor and I was with the Rohirrim."
Pippin frowned. He looked hurt. "But we tell each other everything, Merry. What couldn't you tell me about?"
"This was personal...between Éowyn and myself." He sank down on the bed, burying his face in his hands. "I've made a mess of things, Pip. I should never have done it, I knew it would cause trouble later, but she..." She had needed him. And he was terrified of going into battle, of dying, and in some ways he had needed her just as much as she had needed him. He hadn't been able to refuse her.
The mattress dipped as Pippin sat down next to him. "What's going on?"
"Éowyn's going to have a baby." He paused, taking a deep breath. "It's mine."
"Oh, Merry..." Pippin whispered.
"She doesn't want to raise a hobbit child in Gondor. She wants me to take it."
Pippin was silent a moment, then stood up. He grabbed the pack and shoved it into Merry's lap. Merry looked up at him. Pippin's face was lit with a grin.
"Well that's it then. Let's go get my new cousin!"
"Pippin! This is serious! I don't know if I'm ready to be a father."
"Who is? You won't know until you try. And I'll be here to help you!" Pippin patted Merry on the back and raced next door to his room.
"That doesn't boost my confidence, Pip," Merry mumbled to himself.
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.