48. Chapter 47 - August 1430
Ivy was also glad to travel to Bag End because that meant she got to spend time with Elanor. Their time together was becoming less and less as their families became too busy with young children to make the trips. Elanor was old enough now to be responsible for younger siblings and today she was in charge of keeping an eye on the now one-year-old Pip.
Elanor had spread a blanket out down the hill towards Bag End and together they sat and played with Pip. But Ivy didn’t think it fair that Elanor got to play with a baby all day and since Eomer didn’t want to be cuddled anymore--he was too busy toddling around after Theo or playing with Mer Gamgee--she decided to ask Uncle Pippin if she could have Fari.
“Well...,” he said after she’d asked. He hesitated. He glanced down at Fari, nestled in the crook of his arm, then looked over to Estella, who was sitting across the table from him with Vinca Took.
Ivy made a silent plea to Estella to tell Uncle Pippin she could look after Fari. She’d had lots of practice with her brothers, after all, and Elanor had lots of practice with her siblings, too. And she was going to be eleven in a few months, so she was old enough to watch after a baby by herself.
“She’ll do fine, Pippin,” Estella said. “And it will give you a chance to visit today if Ivy’s watching Fari for you.”
Uncle Pippin thought about it for a moment and Ivy was afraid he would refuse, but then he nodded. “All right,” he said and gave Fari to her.
Fari smiled and wriggled happily when she settled him on her hip. He really did seem to know her and like her, just like Uncle Pippin had said.
“Now, his diapers are in the house in Rosie and Sam’s bedroom, for when he needs to be changed, and his bottle is in the kitchen. There’s milk in a jar by the--”
“I know, Uncle Pippin,” Ivy said, “I know how to look after a baby.”
“I know, but--” He turned at Estella and Vinca’s sudden fit of giggles. “What?”
“You said the exact same things when you’d hand Ivy over to someone when she was a baby,” Estella said.
Pippin frowned at her. “I worry,” he muttered.
“Oh, Pippin, I’m just teasing,” Estella said, patting his arm. “They’ll be fine. You can relax.”
Pippin sighed and nodded. “I know.” He leaned forward and patted Fari’s back. “You be good for Ivy, Fari-lad,” Pippin said. “Have fun,” he said to Ivy, though he didn’t sound very enthusiastic.
“We will, Uncle Pippin,” she said. She smiled and was relieved when he smiled back.
“You better take the baby and run before he changes his mind,” Vinca said.
Pippin scowled at his sister, who was giggling with Estella. Ivy giggled, too. She helped Fair wave “bye” to his dad, then she went back to where Elanor was sitting with Pip.
“You’re lucky,” Elanor sighed as Ivy sat next to her on the blanket, nestling Fari in her lap. “Fari is such a sweet baby. I get the terror.” She plucked a beetle from Pip’s hand that was destined for his mouth.
Ivy patted Fari’s soft curls and kissed his brow. He was a very sweet baby. She hoped that when she grew up and had babies they were as sweet as Fari was.
“When will you get to go see your sister?” Elanor asked.
Ivy grinned. They’d just received a letter from her mother a few days ago announcing the birth of Ivy’s new sister, Théodwyn. ‘I got a sister!’ was the first thing she’d said to Elanor upon seeing her today. “Maybe next summer, dad says,” Ivy said. She hoped so. She finally got a sister and she was hundreds of miles away! She really wanted to be able to hold her new sister, but instead she’d have to be content with holding her new cousin.
Pip wriggled in his sister’s lap, trying to get away. “Hold still, Pip,” Elanor scolded.
“Mum!” Pip yelled, trying to get out of his sister’s lap. “Mum! Mum! Mum!”
“Fine,” Elanor sighed. “I’ll be right back,” she said. She let Pip lose and got up, just managing to catch his hand before he ran off into the crowd.
Ivy cuddled Fari and wondered what her sister would be like. Elboron and Théodred both looked like Faramir, but Ivy wondered if Théodwyn would look like her mum, just like she did. That would be strange, having someone else who looked like her.
Elanor came back--without Pip--and sat on the blanket. “Mum’s going to keep him for a while,” she said. She reached over to tickle Fari’s stomach, making him giggle. “I wish I had a little baby to hold. Pip doesn’t hold still very long anymore.”
Ivy really didn’t want to give up Fari, but... “Would you like to hold Fari?”
Elanor’s face brightened. “Yes!”
Ivy handed Fari to her, a little reluctantly, then sat back to watch. Fari liked Elanor, too. He was giggling as she murmured to him and bounced him on her knee. Ivy tried not to be jealous.
Then Elanor wrinkled her nose. “I think he needs to be changed,” she said. She picked him up and held him out to Ivy.
Ivy shook her head. “Oh no! You’re holding him, you get to change him.” She grinned. That would make up for letting Elanor hold him.
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