44. Chapter 43 - June 1429
Merry had invited Pippin to Rohan, hoping that a month together would get Ivy talking to Pippin again, but Pippin turned him down. His mother had died that winter and he didn’t want to leave his family. Merry understood. His mother’s death had hurt Pippin deeply and it had also broken down some of the walls between Pippin and his father. They had a lot to work out between them.
When they arrived in Edoras in June, Éowyn was already there. Ivy leapt from her pony to throw herself into her mother’s arms. Merry’s couldn’t help but feel a little guilty over how much they missed each other.
“How is she doing?” Éowyn whispered, taking a seat next to her brother and across the table from Merry.
Merry looked to the other side of the Great Hall where Faramir was teaching Ivy and Elboron how to play chess.
Merry shook his head. “It’s been a bit rough. She’s still quite upset about Pippin getting married. They were always so close--she always called him her best friend--and now he’s had to grow up and start dealing with his responsibilites at home. She’s still angry with him and avoids him.” Merry frowned. “Estella says it’s because she has an infatuation with him.” No matter what Estella said, he wasn’t comfortable with the idea of Ivy being ‘in love’ with anyone, even if it was only a girlish thing. She was only nine!
Éowyn chuckled and patted his arm. “It’s quite normal, Merry. Little girls have infatuations.”
Éomer snorted and nodded towards Éowyn. “She should know. When she was nine, she was mooning over--hey!” He rubbed his arm where his sister had punched him.
Éowyn just glared at him, then turned back to Merry. “I am surprised she’s still this angry.”
“Well, if she’s anything like her mother, I’m not surprised,” said Éomer. “Don’t give me that look,” he said to his sister. He turned back to Merry. “When Éowyn was a girl, she got mad at one of the stablehands because he had insisted on helping ‘the young lady’ saddle her horse.” He snorted. Éowyn gave a huff and rolled her eyes. “She didn’t talk to him for.... what was it? Six months or so?”
“Oh, and what about the time you refused to talk to Théodred for three weeks because he wouldn’t let you go on that patrol?” she shot back.
Merry shook his head and chuckled. Now he was certain where Ivy had gotten her stubborness and temper.
The siblings traded insults for a few minutes before they noticed that Merry was watching them.
“Sorry,” Éowyn said. She glanced over at her daughter. “I’m sure she’s just very hurt because she feels like she’s lost a friend. What about her other friends?”
“Her only other friend is Sam’s daughter, Elanor. But Elanor lives all the way over in Hobbiton. Ivy doesn’t play with her cousins at the Hall.” He sighed. “She’s had a hard time fitting in with the other children. They’ve teased her a bit, about being tall and...” He shook his head sadly. “I’m afraid her life in the Shire isn’t as easy as we had hoped.” He paused for a second. He didn’t want to admit it, but... “Maybe she should have stayed with you.”
Éowyn shook her head and took his hand. “No, Merry. I think we made the right decision.”
Merry saw the tears in her eyes. “Éowyn...”
He was interupted by a shout from Ivy. “I won!” she yelled, grinning at Faramir.
Faramir lifted his hands in defeat and Ivy scooted over to give her brother his turn. Merry looked back at Éowyn, but the tears were gone and she was smiling at her children.
She turned back to him. “I think I’ll turn in for the night.” She squeezed his hand, pecked Éomer on the cheek, then went to say good-night to her husband and children.
Merry watched her go, still feeling guilty for taking Ivy from her.
“You did make the right decision, Merry,” Éomer said.
Merry nodded, but still wasn’t convinced. Not when he saw the slight slump to her shoulders as she walked from the hall.
“There you go, lassie. What do you think of that?”
Ivy took the silver brooch from Gimli’s hand, the shiny metal still warm from its time in the fire. “Thank you,” she said, looking up at his cheerful face.
He chuckled and patted her head. “You’d be a fine smith, Ivy-lass. Maybe your dad will let you stay here with us?”
Ivy giggled and he winked at her. She liked Gimli. He was always saying funny things to make her laugh. Her mother had brought her to see Helm’s Deep and they’d gone into the Glittering Caves to visit the dwarves. She hadn’t met Gimli on her last visit, because he’d been far to the north visiting the dwarves there.
Gimli had been delighted to see her mother and had made quite a fuss over Ivy. She’d been shy at first, but then he’d invited her to help him make something. She’d stood at the forge, his large hand over hers, and together they’d tapped the metal into a its final shape--an ivy leaf. Then she’d watched in fascination as Gimli had added a clasp to the leaf to make the brooch for her.
After saying farewell to Gimli--she’d see him again, Ivy was happy to learn, as he would be coming to Edoras soon--her mother took her on a walk around the base of Helm’s Deep. Ivy was in awe of the massive wall. She could see where the dwarves had fixed the hole that the orcs had made. They’d used something like fireworks, her dad had told her. Which didn’t really mean much, since she’d never even seen a firework, but she’d heard about them. She could not imagine fire that exploded like a potato in the oven.
Then they walked out to the small field near the mountain to pay respects at the graves of the soldiers who had fought the orcs. Ivy touched the monument stone that the Rohirrim had put up to honor the elves who had died in the battle. “It’s sad,” she said. “Uncle Sam said elves aren’t supposed to die.”
Éowyn knelt next to her and put an arm around her. “They were very brave,” she said. “They made a great sacrifice for us.”
“I’ve never met an elf,” she said, “not even Dad’s friend Legolas.”
“But you have met an elf, Ivy,” Éowyn said. Ivy turned to her mother, confused. “You were born in Rivendell. An elf named Aerlyn was there when you were born. Lord Elrond gave you a blessing. I thought your father would have told you?”
“Dad never said,” Ivy said with a shrug. And she’d never asked. She’d just assumed she’d been born in Rohan when she’d learned Éowyn was her mother.
“I’m surprised Pippin didn’t tell you.” Éowyn said. “He was there, too. He was so excited about getting a new cousin.”
Ivy got a funny feeling in her stomach at the mention of Pippin’s name. “I don’t talk to Uncle Pippin much anymore,” she mumbled. She felt the tears prick her eyes.
Her mother’s hand stroked her hair. “Why not, Ivy?” she asked softly
Ivy really didn’t want to talk about it. She was tired of her Dad and Estella and her grandparents asking her about Pippin. But this was her mother and she wanted to tell Éowyn everything. “Because. He married that mean Diamond and we never see him. When he does come over, he’s grumpy and gloomy and he won’t show me swords anymore or go riding...” Ivy was crying now. “He doesn’t want to be my friend anymore, so I don’t want to see him.”
Her mother hugged her. “Oh, Ivy.”
“Why doesn’t he want to be my friend anymore?” she sobbed. Éowyn pulled her into her lap, rocking her while she sobbed her grief at losing her friend.
Éowyn kissed her head. “Ivy. Pippin still wants to be your friend. Your father told me about him. I don’t know what he or Estella have told you, but I think you are old enough to understand.” Ivy sniffed and looked up into her mother’s face. “You understand about arranged marriage, right?”
“Well, sometimes arranged marriages work and sometimes they don’t. I don’t think Pippin’s is working. It wasn’t a good match, and he and Diamond don’t really get along. But they can’t do anything about it, because it’s what their families want. On top of that, he’s got the burden of being the next Thain, which is a great responsibility. Pippin has to put his duties first, even if it makes him unhappy. So you should be more understanding of him. Your father told me he is hurt because you avoid him. Pippin needs you to be understanding and he needs you to be his friend right now.”
Ivy frowned. She hadn’t thought of that. She hadn’t ever thought about what Pippin was going through. She’d been so angry she’d only thought of herself. She felt sick.
“I’ve been so mean to him,” she said. “As mean as Diamond.” She buried her face in Éowyn’s neck. “I’m sorry.”
Éowyn kissed her brow. “I think it’s Pippin you need to apologize to.”
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.