65. Chapter 64 - February 1436
Ivy was certain her heart had stopped when her mother told her. She was barely aware of Éowyn saying ‘pneumonia’ and ‘very, very ill’, but her father’s letter didn’t say much more. It was later, reading Theo’s letter, that she got the whole story.
I heard Mum and Dad talking about it after. Uncle Pippin got into a big fight with the old cow and drank himself into a stupor. He must have went out for a walk because Uncle Sam was travelling to the Smials and found him that evening nearly froze to death. They sent a messenger to tell Dad because Uncle Pippin caught pneumonia and they didn’t expect him to last the week. Mum and Dad left right away. Dad stayed with him, but Mum came home and just said Uncle Pippin had gotten sick and we didn’t find out until later what had happened. But I knew it was bad because Mum was crying and she doesn’t cry about anything unless it’s bad.
Uncle Pippin got better, but when Dad came home he looked scared. I think he really thought Uncle Pippin was going to die. Poor Fari was home for all this. Once Uncle Pippin was better, he and Fari came to stay with us for a week. Fari had nightmares every night about his dad dying. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a hobbit as pale and thin as Uncle Pippin.
Ivy was shaken by the news. She would miss her Gran, would miss all the stories and baking together in the kitchen and the hugs that only grandmothers can give. And Pippin... Pippin nearly died played over and over in her mind, and it made her feel dizzy and sick to her stomach and empty. When her family and Legolas helped her have a memorial for Gran, she sobbed for Pippin, too. She knew Gran wouldn’t mind.
She wavered in her resolve to stay in Gondor. She didn’t want to leave Derwyn, but something inside nagged at her that she needed to go home.
“Where are we going?”
“You’ll find out.”
Ivy giggled, letting Derwyn lead her away from Aifa’s birthday party and down the path to a small barn at the edge of the forest. They’d snuck away a few other times, to ‘practice’ kissing. Ivy was looking forward to some more ‘practice’.
Derwyn opened the door and turned to smile at her. Ivy smiled back, her stomach fluttering with anticipation. The barn was dim, the only light coming through the slats of the boards. Derwyn nodded towards the ladder to the hayloft. “Up there?” he asked.
Ivy hesitated for a moment, staring up the ladder. She had a feeling Derwyn might want to do more than kiss her if she went up into that hayloft. She’d heard about the many uses of haylofts. A part of her wanted to say ‘no’, to turn around and go back to the party. But Derwyn was looking at her expectantly and she didn’t want to disappoint him. She wanted him to like her. “All right.” She climbed the ladder.
She crawled over to sit against the wall, tucking her feet under her skirt and huddling under her cloak. February in Gondor was nowhere near as cold as it was in the Shire, but it still gave her goosebumps. She could hear Derwyn down below, his boots on the hard-packed floor, then the creak of the ladder as he climbed up to the loft.
He had a horse blanket over his shoulder and he pulled it off to spread out over the loose hay. Ivy sucked in her breath and bit her lip. Her heart was pounding now, her stomach fluttering, at the thought of what that blanket was for.
Derwyn kicked off his boots and lay back on the blanket on his side, propped upon on an elbow. He patted the blanket and raised his eyebrows at her.
Ivy took a deep breath and pushed herself away from the wall, over to the blanket. She lay down next to him on her back, staring at the roof. They’d only ever kissed sitting up. Never like this, lying next to each other. She wondered if he could hear her heart pounding.
She flinched a little when he lay his hand on her stomach. Then he was kissing her, warm and insistent, his tongue pushing in to tangle with hers. Nothing they’d never done before. But her hands clutched at the blanket beneath her when his hand drifted higher, up over her ribs, just below her breast, and she gasped a little.
“All right?” Derwyn asked. “Do you want to stop?”
Ivy gazed back into his blue eyes. She knew what he probably wanted. Her mum had told her lads had a strong urge to bed lasses, and that she’d have to keep her head about her and say ‘no’. But she didn’t want to. She was afraid to, because she didn’t want to disappoint him.
She shook her. “I’m fine.”
He smiled, then kissed her again, his hand moving back to her ribs. He rolled towards her, half on top of her. His weight was pressing on her arm and she moved a little. Her hand moved against his trousers, against a hardness there, and he moaned into her mouth.
Ivy jerked her arm out from between them. “I’m sorry,” she said, turning her head away from the kiss. “I--”
“It’s all right,” he said, his breath coming in short gasps. “I want you to.” He kissed her, deeply, and took her hand in his to guide her down to touch him again.
She got a strange feeling in her belly, touching him like that, her hand against the strange ridge of hardness under his trouser buttons. He let go of her hand and moved his own hand up to caress her breast.
She shuddered at the feeling, the tingling that shot through her body at his touch. She couldn’t help the small moan in the back of her throat as his fingers brushed over her suddenly hard nipple. She’d never felt anything like this before.
He moved his hand away and she whimpered at the loss of the touch, but then his hand was sliding lower over her body and his kissing were moving lower, too, over her cheek and down her neck, down and down until he was kissing the skin of her chest, his tongue darting over her skin and leaving little wet patches that made her shiver when the cool air hit them, that made her breasts feel tight. And she realized his hand had moved to her thigh--she hadn’t even noticed--and his fingers were grabbing at her skirt, pulling it up over her legs and then his fingers were touching her there, and his hips were grinding against her, that hardness against her thigh, and...
“No, wait!” she gasped and she pushed him away, suddenly frightened and confused and overwhelmed by everything. She sat up and yanked her skirt back down, then crossed her arms over her chest. “I’m sorry,” she said and she fought back the urge to cry. Would he still like her?
“It’s all right,” he said, but she didn’t believe him. He was flat on his back, an arm flung over his eyes, breathing hard. His other hand covered his... his erection, and Ivy turned her eyes away, blushing.
She wiped at her eyes, the tears starting to come. She just had so much to deal with, with losing Gran and nearly losing Pippin. It was just too much and she couldn’t... She couldn’t do this now. And thinking of Pippin made her feel ashamed at what she’d nearly done, rolling around in the hay with a boy she’d only met a few weeks ago. What would he think of her? What would her dad think of her? This was supposed to be special, her mother had told her, saved for someone she loved. And though she really liked Derwyn, and she wanted him to like her, she wasn’t yet sure if she loved him. They needed more time. More time than the few weeks until the King would be leaving on his tour and taking her north. Her decision about leaving wavered again. Certainly her family in the Shire would understand, that she needed to find out if she loved Derwyn?
“Are you all right?” Derwyn asked. He’d sat up now and was watching her.
She nodded and wiped at her eyes. “I just... I can’t do this now.”
He surprised her by just shrugging. “All right. I just... I just thought maybe you’d want to. We don’t have to. We can just kiss if you like.” He leaned towards her, touching her back.
Ivy shook her head, shifting away from him. Her body still felt weird and tingly from what they’d been doing. She thought it would be better if he didn’t touch her like that anymore. “I... I can’t. I’m sorry.” She sniffled and wiped at her nose. “We should probably go back to the party.”
He just shrugged again. “If you like.” He shifted around and winced a little. “You go ahead. I, uh...” He blushed. “I need to calm things down here first.” He made vague gesture towards his crotch.
Ivy gaped at him a moment, her face suddenly hot. Her mother had explained that as well. She nodded and scurried down the ladder as fast as she could.
She went back to the house and right away was caught by her friends. “Where have you been?” Aifa asked her, grinning at her, and they all started giggling.
“I went for a walk,” she said, cursing the blush on her face.
“Uh-huh,” Brenna said, eyeing her skeptically. “Since when have walks made you blush like that?”
“All right, I went for a walk with Derwyn,” she whispered.
The three girls all squealed in delight and dragged her away to Aifa’s bedroom.
Brenna turned on her as soon as the door was closed. “What happened!” she asked excitedly.
Ivy wished the stupid blush would go away. “Nothing,” she said, which was the truth really. They’d stopped before anything of importance happened. “Just... kissing.” She crossed her arms and sat on the bed.
“That’s all?” Brenna asked. “Because your face is as red as a tomato!”
“Oh, hush, Brenna!” Gwen scolded.
She sat on the bed next to Ivy. “You really like him, don’t you?” Gwen asked.
Ivy smiled and nodded.
Gwen sighed and bit her lip, frowning a little. “Are you sure you should be getting your heart so tied up in him, seeing as you’ll be leaving soon?”
Ivy shrugged. She hadn’t told any of her friends of her dilemma. She didn’t want to get their hopes up, or have them influence her decision. “I’m fine,” she said. “Thanks, though.” She hugged Gwen. She’d miss her friends, too, if she left. Another reason to consider staying.
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.