39. Chapter 38 - September 1426
“Merry!” Pippin rushed into the room and Merry rose to greet him with a hug.
“Hey, Pip,” he said.
“I’m glad you’re back, Merry. I missed you.” He punched Merry lightly on the arm. “You get to traipse off to Rohan to spend time with pretty ladies and I’m...here.” Pippin’s face fell.
Merry knew what here meant. Here, with his father and planning a marriage he didn’t want to a girl he didn’t know. Merry punched Pippin’s arm back, trying to lighten the mood. “Well, I brought one pretty lady back with me, so you won’t be entirely left out.”
Pippin grinned. “So where is our Ivy-lass?”
“Home.” Merry sighed. “I needed to talk to you first. About her.”
Pippin’s face pinched with worry. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing. Nothing’s wrong with Ivy. It’s...” Merry took a breath. “I learned some interesting things on our trip. Like how my daughter knows how to order ales in an inn. And can ride at a gallop.” He felt a scowl come over his face and the anger come back a bit. “Anything sound familiar here?”
Pippin laughed. “Hey, she wasn’t supposed to say...” He stopped. “What’s the matter?”
Merry gaped at him. He thought Pippin would have been understanding of the situation, not laugh it off. “Pippin! You were taking my daughter to inns! You taught her how to gallop her pony when I had only just taught her how to ride by herself. I’m sure there’s more, but she obviously won’t say anything else, to protect you.”
“Come on, Merry! Frodo was taking us out to the Green Dragon when I was...”
“This is not about Frodo or us! This is about my daughter!” he yelled.
Pippin shook his head. “It was just a bit of fun, Merry. She only drank apple cider and we’d sing a song or two and leave. What did that hurt?”
“So you know how to raise my daughter better than I do, now?” Merry snapped, feeling the heat on his face. He felt the twinge of jealousy rise up, that jealousy over Ivy having fun with Pippin while he had to be the responsible one.
“Merry...” Pippin stopped, gave a heavy sigh and threw up his hands. “Fine. If you’re telling me to stay away from her, I will.” Merry saw the incredibly hurt look on his face, the tears in the corners of his eyes. “You’re her father, after all.”
Merry sighed himself, squeezing his eyes shut and rubbing at the headache that was starting. How did this suddenly turn into a shouting match? When was the last time he had actually fought with Pippin?
“No, Pip,” he finally said. He opened his eyes. Pippin had moved away and was standing at the window, arms crossed. From his profile, Merry could see his jaw was clenched. “I don’t want you to stay away. Just...no more inns or dangerous things. You are supposed to be a grown-up now.”
“I know,” said Pippin, never looking away from the window, “I get reminded of it daily. From my parents and my sisters and I’m sure once I’m married to Diamond she’ll do the same.” He turned to face Merry. “I don’t need it from you, though. Especially since when you were my age, your major responsibility was remembering where you lived after drinking too much with your younger cousin.”
Merry felt the smile tug at the corner of his mouth and saw the same smile at the corner of Pippin’s mouth. That was the thing about them. He couldn’t remember any of their fights because they never lasted long. They always forgave each other, no matter what. He walked the few steps to pull Pippin into a hug. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I was worried about her and angry and...”
“I know,” Pippin said. “I’m sorry for stepping over the line.” He pulled back to look at Merry. “I won’t teach her anything else that is dangerous.”
Merry caught the twinkle in Pippin’s eyes. “All right, Pip. Nothing dangerous.” He ruffled Pippin’s curls, getting an indignant yelp in return. “And no more inns. I don’t need her learning that habit this early.”
“Don’t worry. I’m sure my drinking days are over, especially once I’m married.” Pippin scowled.
Merry patted his shoulder. “You know Pip, it’s not too late to break it off. You wouldn’t be the first hobbit to...”
Pippin raised an eyebrow. “This is no longer my decision. It’s my father’s, remember. The deal is done and if I say anything more about it to him...” he trailed off and turned back to the window.
“I know, Pip.” Merry draped his arm around his cousin and supported him as he leaned into Merry. “I’m sorry.”
Pippin sighed. “There’s nothing to be done now.” They stayed there for a moment, looking out the window, Merry trying to give Pippin all the love and support and comfort he could through the embrace. He wished he could make it better for him, do something to fix Pippin’s problems. That had always been his responsibility when they were growing up, but now he could do nothing.
Then Pippin smiled up at Merry and gave him a playful jab in the ribs. “So, how did it go with Éowyn?”
“Fine. Good. It was good. Ivy loves her.” Merry smiled at the memories of his daughter and her mother, one a miniature version of the other. “Éowyn’s happy. She and Faramir have two wonderful boys to keep her busy.”
“Is Merry happy?” Pippin gave him a meaningful look.
“Yes, Pip. I’m very happy. Although, the reason for my happiness was not altogether happy with me running off this morning after just getting back.” He smiled. “So I’d best be getting home.”
“Too bad. You’ll miss the chance to see my lovely bride.” Pippin wrinkled his nose. “Diamond and her family are supposed to be here in an hour for more wedding planning. Luckily, I’m not involved with it, although they will expect me to entertain her. No one even bothered to tell me they were coming. I overheard Mum and Nel talking about it. I’m just expected to be here.”
Merry looked at Pippin and their eyes met, communicating without words the only way two people as close as they can. They grinned at the same time and Pippin twisted out from under Merry’s arm and snatched up a small pack from under a chair. Pipe and weed pouch were quickly stuffed in a side pocket, before he moved on to his dresser.
“Well, Mr. Took,” Merry said, “I think I’ll take the opportunity to give my regards to your father. I hope I won’t be distracting him from his duties.”
“And I, Mr. Brandybuck,” said Pippin, fastening the hastily stuffed pack, “will be meeting you somewhere along the Stock Road.”
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.