45. Chapter 44 - September 1429
Her father had just stared at her for a moment after she told him that her mother had convinced her to apologize to Uncle Pippin. “We’ve been trying to tell you that for a year!” he’d finally said, exasperated and maybe a little angry. Ivy had just shrugged. Somehow, it had been different talking about it with her mother. Her mother had seemed to understand why she was mad better than anyone else. They’d had a good long talk about it that day at Helm’s Deep. Éowyn told her that she had gotten mad at things when she was a girl, too, and that Ivy was going to have to learn to control her temper.
And now she was especially worried, because Uncle Pippin was riding up the road towards Crickhollow. Ivy ducked back behind the tree, her heart pounding. They’d gotten back from Rohan a few days ago and she’d expected Uncle Pippin would be out to see her father soon. And now he was here.
He rode up to their stable to take care of his pony. Ivy took a deep breath and stepped out from behind the tree. She might as well get it over with.
She waited at the door for him to come out. They looked at each other a moment then Ivy said “I’m sorry, Uncle Pippin!” and burst into tears.
He stepped forward and embraced her. “It’s all right, Ivy,” he said, hugging her tight.
“Am I still your friend?” she whispered.
“Always, Ivy,” he said, pulling back to look in her eyes. “I will always be your friend, no matter what. I know I haven’t had time for you and I’m sorry. But I’ll try to make it up to you.” He brushed a tear from his cheek and tweaked her nose. “How about we go for a ride later?” he asked.
“Don’t you have to get back home?”
Pippin sighed, looking sad again. Then he scowled and shrugged. He gave Ivy a grin. “Not today, Ivy.”
She smiled back at him. Maybe the old Uncle Pippin was back?
“Now, let’s go in,” he said. “I need to say hello to your dad and then I’ve got something to tell you all.” He took her hand and they walked to the house.
Her dad met them coming in the front door. He looked at their clasped hands and raised an eyebrow. “Everything all right now?” he asked.
“Everything’s fine,” Ivy said. Her father just shook his head and went into the parlor. They followed him in.
“Did you have a good trip back?” Pippin asked her dad and they started talking about the trip and their friends in Rohan. Ivy sat on the couch to listen. She was so relieved that Uncle Pippin had forgiven her.
The conversation was interrupted by a giggling and naked Theo running into the room, Estella chasing after him with his clothes. He ran to his father, who scooped up the wriggling little boy. Eomer was behind his mother, already dressed. He toddled over to Ivy and she pulled him up on her lap to hug him. Her little brother had gotten so big while they were gone.
“Thanks, Merry,” Estella said. “He’s been like a wild thing since you’ve gotten back, he’s been so excited to see you.” She took Theo from his father and sat down to dress him. “Hello, Pippin,” she said as she wrestled Theo into his trousers. She looked up at him. “So, did she find out?”
Ivy looked up at Uncle Pippin, curious. Who were they talking about?
“Yes,” Pippin said, blushing a little. “And yes.” He grinned suddenly.
Estella smiled too. “Well, you’ll have to tell us then, because I haven’t said anything about it.” She winked. “I left that up to you.”
Uncle Pippin looked around at them all. “I found out I’m going to be a father.”
“Congratulations!” Ivy’s dad said and hugged Pippin.
Ivy just stared at him in shock. Uncle Pippin was going to be a dad? They’d just made up, he’d just said he would try to spend more time with her, and now he was going to have a baby to take up his time? She hid her face behind Eomer, her stomach churning. The anger was threatening to come back. But she had to fight it, just like Éowyn said. She looked up at him again. Uncle Pippin looked happy about it, so she’d just have to be happy, too.
“So, how are things with the wife?” her dad asked him.
Pippin’s smile faded away. He shrugged. “I don’t know. I’m hoping this will help things, but...” He blushed a little, gave a quick glance over at Ivy, then looked back at her dad. “I’ll talk to you about it later.” Merry nodded.
Ivy frowned. What would they have to talk about that they couldn’t say in front of her?
“Well, we should celebrate!” Estella said, releasing a fully clothed Theo to run around again. “Why don’t we have some of the wine you brought back from Rohan, Merry?”
“Sounds good!” Merry said and they all filed down to the kitchen. Ivy followed, leading Eomer. She still wasn’t sure how she felt about this.
At least Uncle Pippin kept his promise and after tea they went for a ride, just the two of them. It was nice talking to Uncle Pippin again. She told him all about her time in Rohan and all the things she did. Uncle Pippin was happy to hear about Gimli, and in turn he shared stories about Gimli and their friend Legolas that made Ivy laugh. She would like to meet Legolas someday.
When they ran out of things to catch up on, Uncle Pippin cleared his throat. “So. What do you think of getting a new cousin?”
Ivy bit her lip, not sure how to answer that. She shrugged.
“Are you afraid I won’t spend time with you after the baby comes?”
She looked up at him, amazed that he had guessed her problem. Well, all right. Maybe not so amazed, since that had been the cause of their troubles in the first place. “A little.”
He smiled at her. “Well, a baby does keep you awfully busy, so I can’t make any promises, all right?”
She nodded and gave a small smile back. “Yes, I know.” She knew all about babies keeping you busy, with four little brothers in two parts of the world. “I won’t get mad this time.”
He nodded. “I’m glad, Ivy. And besides, you may not even need me around with a new little cousin. He or she’s going to need an older cousin to teach him things and look out for him, right? Think you’re up for the job?” He winked at her.
She smiled. It would be fun having a little cousin, just like Uncle Pippin had her. “Sure.” Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad after all.
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.