33. Chapter 32 - July 1425
“I am,” she said, not taking her eyes from Clara’s face. Uncle Freddy had let her hold the baby. Her new cousin was just one month old. Ivy thought she was a very pretty baby.
“You know that’s not what I mean.”
Ivy looked up at her father. He was looking rather sternly at her. She sighed. He--and everyone else, it seemed--were always trying to get her to go play with her cousins here at Brandy Hall. She looked to Uncle Pippin, hoping he would suggest something else for her to do, but he wasn’t even paying attention. He was busy talking to Uncle Folco. She frowned. He always seemed to ignore her when they were at big parties, like her father’s birthday today.
“I think Clara’s going to need to go back to her mum to eat soon, anyway” said Uncle Freddy. He held out his arms and Ivy reluctantly gave Clara back. She pouted at her father. Nobody seemed to care that she’d rather just sit here with her father and uncles.
Her father stood up. “Come with me,” he said, holding out his hand. “We’ll go see if we can find them.”
Ivy dragged herself off the bench and took his hand. She hoped they wouldn’t find them.
But, of course, the whole lot of them were playing under some trees near the back of the Hall. All the cousins her age, anyway. The older ones were off running around.
“Here you go,” her dad said, patting her head. And he left her there.
They were all looking at her. She took a deep breath and went to sit near the circle of girls. At least when she was sitting, she didn’t feel so tall.
“Hi, Ivy,” Petunia said. She was Uncle Berilac’s daughter.
“Hi,” Ivy mumbled back.
“Did you bring your doll?” Petunia asked. She held up her own rag doll. All the girls had one.
Ivy shook her head. “I brought my wooden horse. I got it from the King of Rohan.”
“Oh,” Petunia said. “Well...” She shrugged. The other girls stared at Ivy.
Ivy averted her eyes. She didn’t want to play silly old dolls anyway. Dolls were boring. If she wanted to play with babies, she’d hold Theo or Clara.
“Is Rohan where those Big Folk live?” a boy asked. Ivy looked up. The boy was one of her distant cousins and a few years older than her, which made him about her height. She didn’t remember his name. He walked over to her, a few of the other boys with him.
“Yes,” said Ivy. She didn’t like the look on the boy’s face. He was frowning at her.
“My dad said those Big Folk are a bad lot. Evil. They came to the Shire and burned up holes and killed hobbits!”
Ivy heard little gasps from the girls next to her. She shook her head. “Not all Big Folk are bad.”
“Oh, that’s right. Your mother is one of them. That’s why you’re a giant.”
Ivy bristled at that, her hands clenching.
The boy drew himself up, puffing out his chest a little, and glanced at his companions before glaring at her again. “Did they kick her out, too? Because she was bad just like the other--?”
He never finished his sentence because he was suddenly clutching his bleeding nose and crying. Ivy looked down at her hand, clenched in a fist. She had a vague memory of a crunching feeling under her knuckles. But she didn’t remember standing up and actually hitting him.
“Ivy!” Petunia gasped.
Ivy looked around. They were all gaping at her, wide-eyed, and maybe just a bit scared. She turned and ran.
Ivy lay on a pile of horseblankets in the stable, sobbing. Why was everyone so mean to her? And then she had to go hit one of her cousins--and she didn’t even mean to do it, it just happened. But she didn’t think anyone would believe her. She was in big trouble.
She sat up and wiped her eyes on her sleeve. She decided she’d go find Uncle Pippin. Maybe he’d take her home to Crickhollow before her dad found out what she’d done. She got up and left the tack room, only to see her father coming into the stable. He was scowling at her. She stepped back into the tack room and slumped down on the blankets. Yes, she was in Big Trouble now.
He stood in the doorway for a moment, watching her, then sighed. “Ivy, why did you punch Marroc?”
She went to wipe her runny nose on her sleeve, but her dad tossed her his handkerchief instead. She blew her nose, then stared at her feet.. “He called me a giant. And he said mean things about my mother. That she’s one of the Big Folk and that means she’s bad.”
“You know that’s not true, Ivy. Why didn’t you just ignore him?”
“Why do they have to be mean to me?” She wiped at the tears that were starting again.
Her father knelt down and hugged her. “I’m sorry, Ivy,” he said.
She lay her head on his shoulder and sniffled. “Am I in trouble?”
He stroked her back. “You have to go apologize to Marroc.”
She sighed and pulled back to look at him, still fighting the tears. “Why? He’s the one who was being mean.”
He took her face in his hands and wiped her tears away with his thumbs. “You’re not supposed to punch anyone, Ivy, even if they are being mean. If someone is being mean to you, you come tell me or Estella or Uncle Pippin, all right?”
She nodded. She figured she probably shouldn’t tell her dad that it was Uncle Pippin who had taught her how to punch someone. You had to know how to do that in case you lost your sword.
He wiped a few strands of hair from her teary face. “After you apologize to Marroc you can go look at books in your grandfather’s study until Elanor gets here. Sam sent word they were going to be a little late today but I’m sure they’ll be here soon. All right?”
Ivy smiled. Elanor was her only real friend besides Uncle Pippin. “All right, Dad,” she said.
He smiled and tweaked her nose. “Now, stay out of trouble the rest of the day, or you won’t get your present!”
He kissed her, then took her hand to lead her back to the Hall.
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.