61. Chapter 60 - April 1435
The gown that Kelian had chosen for her attendants to wear was a design influenced by the Queen’s Elvish gowns and accentuated her new curves. She tugged at the bodice, trying to pull it a little higher. Her body might be maturing faster because of it’s Big Folk side, but it was most assuredly still hobbit. As her bosom was proving. Her friends were all jealous. Ivy would be more than happy to let her friends have them if she could.
“You look lovely, Ivy.” Éowyn came to stand behind her and put her arms around her. “You’re so grown up. Your father would be surprised.”
“He’d probably drop dead from the shock, considering I look like a tween now.” She wondered again how her dad would react, when she returned to the Shire next year.
Éowyn just smiled and kissed her cheek. Around them, the other girls and their mothers were getting ready, too. They were in the Steward’s apartments in Minas Tirith. Since Geron was in the Tower Guards, he and Kelian had the honor of being married by the King himself.
Kel was having her hair finished by Gwen’s mother, as her own mother was currently sobbing about her baby being grown up. Ivy thought she had never seen anyone as beautiful as Kel was today. She bit her lip, wondering if she would ever experience her own wedding day.
She filed out with her friends, into the hall that was filled with guests. Geron was at the front of the hall, standing next to the king, looking very handsome in his Gondorian uniform. Ivy sighed, wondering if anyone would ever be waiting for her like that. And when they’d all lined up and it was Kel’s turn to enter the hall, Geron looked at his bride with such love and adoration that it made Ivy’s breath catch in her throat and she had to look away. More than anything, she wanted a lad to look at her like that. But she didn’t believe it would ever happen.
The reception, held in one of the halls of the King’s House, was nowhere near as boisterous as a hobbit wedding, but there was still the food and drink and dancing that all such parties had in common. Her friends dragged her out to dance with some boys they knew from Emyn Arnen. The boys were all polite to her, but Ivy suspected it was because she was the step-daughter of the Prince of Ithilien.
Soon after the happy couple had been sent off on their honeymoon, Ivy gathered her friends and led them through the hallways of the massive building, to a room tucked away on the second floor.
The Hall of Remembrance had murals that told the story of Gondor. She had been here only once before, when she had first arrived in Gondor with Éowyn. She led her friends past suits of armor and displays of arms to the back wall. Next to a mural of black ships coming into the harbor was a large painting of four figures standing in front of the Citadel’s fountain. Behind them, the restored White Tree was still a sapling.
“I wanted to show you my dad,” Ivy said.
She looked on the painting of the four brave hobbits and it hit her just how much she missed home.
“They’re handsome.” said Brenna.
“You think all men are handsome, Brenna,” laughed Eifa. She cocked her head and studied the painting. “But you’re right!” she said with a giggle.
“Which one’s your father?” asked Gwen, throwing Brenna and Eifa an exasperated look.
Ivy walked up to the figure she’d been focusing on since she came here. She touched the image of her Dad, proud in his Rohirric armor. The artist had captured him perfectly. She felt the tears in her eyes as she looked on his face and quickly wiped them away.
“You all right?” asked Eifa.
Ivy nodded. “I just miss him.”
“Who’s this?” asked Gwen, pointing to the figure on the end.
Ivy wiped at her tears and tore her eyes away from her father. “That’s Samwise Gamgee. He’s the mayor of Hobbiton now, and he’s my friend Elanor’s dad.” Sam looked very noble in the picture. Ivy smiled to see his friendly eyes and cheerful grin. If she couldn’t have had Merry Brandybuck as her dad, her next choice would be Sam Gamgee. She looked on the next figure.
“This is Frodo Baggins. He was the Ringbearer. He’s gone into the West with the elves. I don’t remember him. He left when I was a baby.” Although he was smiling, Frodo’s eyes looked tired and sad. Ivy hoped he was happier with the elves.
Beside Frodo stood her father. She touched his image once more before moving to the last figure.
“And this...” she trailed off, looking at Pippin grinning proudly in his Gondorian armor. Her stomach did a slight flip as she looked on the image and she suddenly felt a bit short of breath. She’d never really realised he was so handsome. “This is Peregrin Took. Pippin,” she said, still gazing at the painting. “He’s Thain of the Shire. He’s my dad’s best friend. He’s my best friend, too.” She laid her hand over the White Tree on the coat of his armor. She missed him terribly. She hoped he was all right, that he’d still be there when she got home.
She heard a few whispers and giggles beside her and turned. “What?”
“You like him,” said Eifa. Gwen and Brenna were both grinning at her.
“Of course I like him! He’s my uncle! Well, actually, he’s my cousin once removed on my father’s--”
“No, Ivy,” Eifa chided, cutting her off. “I mean you really like him. We can see it in your face.”
“You look like Kel when she looks at Geron,” giggled Brenna.
Ivy felt her face heat up. “Don’t be ridiculous,” she said and stomped away. This was Pippin. Her father’s cousin. The Thain. Her friend. She remembered the last time she saw him. Pippin and her father had ridden with her to Bree to meet Legolas. Pippin had kissed her on the cheek and told her to have fun. She remembered how sad his eyes looked, though he was smiling at her. She got that fluttery feeling in her stomach again.
“It’s all right, Ivy,” Gwen called after her. She heard them running to catch up. Gwen caught her hand. “You don’t have to be embarrassed. If it’s because he’s older, well, my aunt married a man twenty years older than she is and they’re very happy.”
Brenna giggled. “And the Queen is two-thousand years older than--”
“I can’t marry him!” Ivy shouted, ignoring Brenna and turning on Gwen. “He’s already married to a horrible, mean, selfish old cow who...” She stopped, realizing what that sounded like, and ran away from her friends.
She went back to her room at the Steward’s apartment and climbed into bed. Her heart was still pounding and she didn’t know whether it was from running or... her feelings.
Her friends were right. She had felt something for Uncle Pippin after seeing him in that painting, the weird fluttery feeling she felt when she would admire the rangers with her friends, but something else, too, something in her chest that made her breath stop. She wasn’t sure what to think.
She heard knocks on the main door to the apartments. It was probably her friends looking for her. She rolled over to face the wall, ignoring the knocks. They’d only want to ask her questions and she didn’t know how to answer them.
“Have you ever had an infatuation with someone?”
Éowyn looked up from reading her herbal. Ivy had finally managed to get her mother alone in Ithilien’s House of Healing the day after their return from Minas Tirith.
Éowyn smiled. “Do you like a boy, Ivy?”
Ivy fidgeted. “Um...maybe.” She wouldn’t bring up who it was. It was embarassing enough that her friends suspected it.
Éowyn closed the book. “Well, I did fancy one of the Riders once, a friend of my cousin Théodred, when I was thirteen. I was absolutely heartbroken when he married. But I got over it.”
Ivy nodded. According to Estella, she’d had an ‘infatuation’ with him when Pippin got married, which was why she’d been so mad at him. But it was a different feeling this time. She certainly didn’t feel like this when she was seven. And they’d said she looked like Kel looking at Geron...
“How do you know if it’s an infatuation or if you really love someone?”
“It’s not always easy to tell, Ivy. There doesn’t seem to be a difference when you’re actually going through it. But looking back, I realized that I really had nothing in common with Théodred’s friend. We had nothing to talk about. He was actually quite boring.”
Ivy thought about that. She always liked talking to Pippin. She didn’t think he was boring at all.
“I also thought I loved Aragorn once,” said Éowyn. Ivy looked at Éowyn in surprise. Her mother smiled. “It was during the war. I was devastated that he didn’t return my feelings.” She blushed a little. “That’s part of the reason I was in such despair.”
Aragorn? Ivy found that a little hard to believe. She couldn’t see her mother as the Queen of Gondor. Too many formal receptions. Her mother hated formal receptions. She could only see her mother as Faramir’s wife. Or...
“What about Dad?” Ivy asked. “What do you feel about him? Was he an infatuation?”
Éowyn blushed. “Oh. Well. Our situation is...unique. I wouldn’t call it an infatuation. We are dear friends. We do have real love for each other. But it’s... different than what I have for Faramir or your father has for Estella. We needed each other, Ivy. We took comfort from each other and gave each other strength during a very difficult time.”
Ivy thought about this, then asked a question that she had wondered about for a long time. “Would you have married him, if you had never met Faramir?”
“Oh, Ivy,” Éowyn breathed. She looked away for a moment, lost in thought, then took her daughter’s hand. “It would have been hard, you know that, but I think I would have. I think we do have the beginnings of something that would have made a happy marriage. Because we are friends. I think that is the key, Ivy. If you are friends with someone first, then that is something to base love on. Faramir befriended me while we were recovering from our wounds. Your father was friends with Estella since they were children. That should tell you if it’s love, Ivy.”
Ivy bit her lip and nodded. “Thanks, Éowyn.” she said and let her mother get back to her work. This didn’t help any. In fact, it made it worse. She was already friends with Pippin. Ivy sighed. She would just have to try to put this silly infatuation out of her mind.
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.