60. Chapter 59 - December 1434
“Your friends came to see me this morning, while you were out riding with Faramir and the boys.”
“Why’d they come to see you?” Ivy set down the book she was reading, a book of Elvish poetry that Legolas had given her.
“They wanted to talk about your birthday party,” Éowyn said cheerfuly.
But Ivy didn’t reflect that cheerfulness. Her eyebrows raised. “My party?”
“Yes.” Éowyn sat next to her on the couch. “They want to throw you a big party, a formal party, and invite all the girls and boys your age from Emyn Arnen. Isn’t that lovely of them?” Éowyn forced a huge smile on her face.
But Ivy was just staring at her, her face blank. Then she frowned. “A big party?”
Éowyn patted her knee. “Yes. We’ll have it here in the formal dining room, a big feast. They said their mums have all agreed to help. They’ve noticed you’ve been a little down lately and they thought a big party might cheer you--”
“I don’t want a big party,” Ivy snapped. She turned back to her book, burying her nose in the pages. “I’ll tell them not to bother,” she mumbled.
Éowyn clenched her jaw and took a deep breath, wondering where this sullenness had come from. She hadn’t expected that Ivy would be squealing with joy over a party, but she hadn’t been expecting this reaction either. “Ivy...” she pleaded.
“No.” Ivy still refused to look at her, still hiding behind her book.
Éowyn tried to be patient with her daughter, but her patience was starting to wear a little thin. Had she been this stubborn as a girl? “But your friends really want to do this for you. You shouldn’t turn down their offer.”
Ivy set her book down and turned towards her. “No. I do not want to have a big party.” She clenched her jaw, crossed her arms over her chest, and scowled at her mother. For all that Ivy looked like her, in that moment she reminded Éowyn of Merry.
Éowyn sighed. Something was obviously bothering her daughter. Most girls would be happy to have a big party for their fifteenth birthday. But Ivy didn’t even want to consider it. “What is the matter, Ivy? Why don’t you want to have the party?”
“I don’t like big parties.”
Éowyn took another deep breath to calmherself. If she had been this stubborn as a girl, she would have to apologize to the aunts who had raised her the next time she was in Rohan. “Ivy. Please talk to me. Tell me what’s wrong.”
“It’s just...” Ivy looked away and Éowyn could see her jaw clenching and unclenching. She got that from her Uncle Éomer. Ivy sighed. “I’ll have to get all dressed up and it’ll be all formal and they’ll want to invite boys.” Her voice trailed off as she said the last part. Éowyn suddenly had a suspicion of why Ivy didn’t want the party.
“You don’t want boys at your party?”
“It’s not like it would matter anyway,” mumbled Ivy.
“Ivy, you shouldn’t say things like that.”
“It’s true, though. And don’t try to say it isn’t! None of them notice me. Not like that.” She pulled her feet up on the couch, drawing her legs to her chest. She rested her chin on her knees and let out a heavy sigh.
Éowyn heart broke at her daughter’s misery. Her friends were all out stealing kisses, even getting betrothed, but Ivy did her best to avoid the boys her age. Even now that she was growing up and becoming a young woman. She still felt awkward and out of place.
Éowyn wasn’t sure how to help her. She wished that Ivy’s stay in Gondor hadn’t come at such an awkward time in her life, but then she realised it probably wouldn’t have been any easier in the Shire. Now that she was maturing, it was obvious how much Ivy was stuck between two very different races of people. And it was something that was going to have to be faced. Her daughter would have trouble finding someone--whether hobbit or a Man--who could accept her differences. Ivy was tiny compared to her friends here, but in the Shire she towered over everyone except her father and Pippin.
Éowyn sighed. She’d actually considered it. She’d considered taking her daughter to the Ents and asking for ent-draught to make her daughter tall. But she’d pushed those thoughts away, ashamed she’d ever thought of it. It would have been wrong to change Ivy to make her fit into the world of Men. She was still a hobbit. She still had the pointed ears and furry feet and her love of six meals a day. Ivy could drink all the ent-draught she wanted and there were still no guarantee a Man would accept her differences. In fact, Éowyn suspected Ivy would have an easier time finding a hobbit lad who could accept her as she was. Just from knowing Merry and his friends, she had seen how kind and generous the hobbits could be. Men could take a lesson from them.
She wished she could do something for Ivy. Seeing her daughter’s misery at not fitting in was one of the few times in her life that Éowyn almost regretted getting pregnant. If only she’d kept her fears to herself that night before the battle. If only Merry had turned her away. Then... Then they wouldn’t have the beautiful girl who sat here with her. And she would not change that, and she was certain Merry wouldn’t either. So all they could do was help Ivy in any way they could to make her happy.
“All right, Ivy. We’ll just have a small party again this year.”
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.