37. Chapter 36 - May 1426
“I love it,” said Ivy. “I got my pony last year for Dad’s birthday. He taught me how to ride. Then Uncle Pippin taught me how to gallop and jump.” She paused a moment. She probably shouldn’t have said that. “But don’t tell Dad about the jumping. He already found out I can ride fast on the way here.” She cringed and that guilty feeling came over her again. “I think Uncle Pippin might be in trouble again when we get home.”
Éowyn laughed. “Does Uncle Pippin get in trouble a lot?”
“Sometimes. Dad found out some other things, too. I don’t know if Uncle Pippin’s going to be too happy with me when I get home.” She sighed. “He’s my best friend besides Elanor and he’s been showing me all the things Dad and Uncle Frodo taught him when he was little. But Dad doesn’t seem very happy about it.”
“Well, you should probably listen to your father, Ivy.”
Ivy shrugged. “I guess.” She couldn’t understand why it was such a problem, since her Dad had taught the same stuff to Uncle Pippin when he was little.
“So what else has Uncle Pippin taught you?”
Ivy grinned, momentarily forgetting her guilt about getting Pippin in trouble, just wanting to share her adventures with her mother. She’d always wondered what her mother was like, and now that she’d met her, now that she knew she was the Shieldmaiden that she’d heard about in stories, she thought her mother was amazing. Her own mother had ridden into battle and killed the Witch King! “He taught me sword fighting!” she said excitedly. Then she frowned. “Dad doesn’t know about that either. You won’t tell, will you?”
“No.” Éowyn smiled and winked at her. “I wouldn’t want poor Pippin to get into any more trouble.”
Ivy sighed, relieved. “He doesn’t need any more of that,” she said sadly. “The Thain is making him get married to a really horrible girl next year.”
“Ivy! You really shouldn’t say things like that. I’m sure she’s not that bad.”
Ivy huffed. Éowyn had never met Diamond. Of course she wouldn’t know how awful she was. “Yes she is! She’s rude and mean and she scowls all the time.” Ivy did an imitation of Diamond’s scowl and was pleased when she saw Éowyn trying not to laugh. “I don’t think they really like each other. I heard Dad and Estella talking about it. It’s an arranged marriage. I asked Uncle Freddy, and he said that means Uncle Pippin doesn’t get to pick who he marries, he has to marry who the Thain picks. The Thain is really grumpy so I guess that’s why he picked Diamond.”
Éowyn coughed. “I’m sure it will work out,” she said.
Ivy shrugged. “I think it’s all wrong,” she muttered. She looked up at Éowyn and the question just popped out of her mouth. “Why didn’t you marry my dad?”
Éowyn startled and Ivy thought she might have made a mistake in asking. She’d wondered about it, since hearing about her real mother. Her dad had only told her that Éowyn couldn’t live in the Shire because she was one of the Big Folk, but then why didn’t her dad stay with Éowyn? Maybe her mother really didn’t want a hobbit for a daughter...
Then Éowyn smiled and patted Ivy’s knee. “It’s very complicated, Ivy. Your father and I are dear friends. We were in a very bad situation, in the war. We were both very frightened. And we...” Éowyn bowed her head and Ivy noticed the blush on her cheeks. “Before the battle we needed...comfort...and sometimes when two people need comfort they...do things that usually only married people do. And, well... you were...” She bit her lip.
Ivy sighed. “I know where babies come from,” she chided. “Estella is a midwife and my grandfather breeds ponies. Estella wouldn’t tell me before, but I asked this spring because I saw the ponies and wondered what they were doing. And Estella finally explained.” Ivy wrinkled her nose. She hadn’t expected that, and when she’d thought about it, what her dad had to do to Estella to make Theo, Ivy hadn’t known whether to wrinkle her nose or giggle.
“Oh.” Éowyn relaxed. “Well, then. I met Faramir before I knew I was going to have you, and...your father was happy for me, that Faramir and I planned to marry. Then I realized I was pregnant with you. And I wanted you to be raised by your father. I thought you would be happier in The Shire.”
Ivy nodded. “I understand.” She couldn’t imagine not living with her dad.
“It was difficult,” Éowyn said, “but we are both glad that we had you. Faramir loves you, too.” Éowyn took Ivy’s hand. “When you were born, you were so tiny that Faramir could hold you in one hand.”
Ivy’s eyes grew big. How could she have been that small?
Her mother gently squeezed her hand. “You were such a beautiful baby, Ivy. It was the most horrible day of my life when you had to leave.”
Ivy scooted over and Éowyn pulled her into her lap. Ivy sighed, taking comfort from the embrace. She was happy her father had brought her to meet Éowyn. She just hoped Estella wouldn’t feel bad about it. And while thinking of Estella, she decided to ask a question that had been bothering her. She turned and looked up at Éowyn. “Do I have to call you ‘mum’?”
Éowyn gasped slightly, but then she smiled. “What do you want to do, Ivy?”
Ivy shrugged. “Estella is like my mum, too. I don’t want her to feel bad.” Ivy sighed. “I wish you could meet Estella. She’s very nice.”
“I’m glad,” said Éowyn. “I’m glad your dad found someone nice to take care of you for me.” Éowyn smoothed Ivy’s hair back. “If it makes you feel better, you can just call me Éowyn. That way we can both be your mother.”
Ivy smiled and hugged Éowyn.
Merry watched Ivy racing around the yard below Meduseld with her brothers in a game of tag. Though she was the oldest, Elboron was as tall as her now and Théodred would be soon. He chuckled when Ivy tackled Elboron. He was taller, but she was quicker.
“She’s beautiful, Merry.” Merry turned as Éowyn came to stand next to him. She took his hand. “I’m grateful you brought her to see me.”
Merry shook his head. “I couldn’t very well keep her from you, Éowyn. I would never do that.”
Éowyn nodded. “I know. But it is a long journey for a child.”
Merry laughed. “She’s got a lot of Rohirrim in her. She sits in the saddle like she was born to be there. She takes after you quite a bit.” He winked at her. “She’s even got your temper.”
Éowyn smiled and turned back to watch their daughter. Merry looked at their still entwined fingers. He had thought he had put Éowyn behind him, but now that he saw her again those ‘what ifs’ had come flooding back; the wondering what life would be like with her, raising their daughter together, of what could have been. What if she had never met Faramir and he’d never met Estella... He quickly dropped Éowyn’s hand, despising himself for having those thoughts. When she looked at him in confusion, he made a show of patting his pockets for his pipe.
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.