71. Chapter 70 - May 1436
He moved his bruised jaw. His mouth was dry, with the awful aftertaste of too much whiskey. “Merry?” he rasped.
Merry turned to look at him, his eyes narrowing. “Pippin,” he said coldly.
Pippin flinched at his tone. “I’m sorry,” he whispered, though he knew it wouldn’t be enough.
“So you’ve said.”
Pippin closed his eyes and lay still for a moment, collecting himself, trying to get up the courage to ask the question. “How’s Ivy?” He opened his eyes.
Merry glared at him for a moment, but he answered. “Estella’s talking to her. Trying to figure out what has gotten into her.”
“She’s hurting, Merry, and--”
“And you thought going to her bed would help her?” Merry shouted. He clenched his jaw and and looked away. “But then, you’ve always seemed to know Ivy better than me, haven’t you?” he said bitterly.
Pippin felt like he’d been punched in the gut. “Merry, don’t--”
“What were you thinking, Pippin? This is Ivy! You helped raise her. How could you...?” Merry trailed off, his face twisted with disgust.
Pippin felt sick at what Merry was implying. “I promise you, Merry. I never thought of her that way before she returned from Gondor. Never! But...” He knew he really couldn’t defend himself over what he did last night, but he couldn’t stand having Merry thinking those things about him. “She’s not the same, now. And I’m not her parent. I never was. I’m just her cousin.”
“She’s a child, Pippin! You bedded a child! My child!”
“She’s not a child anymore, Merry. Girls her age are getting married in Gondor.” Hadn’t Ivy used the same excuse on him yesterday?
“This isn’t Gondor,” Merry said between gritted teeth. He narrowed his eyes at Pippin. “Is this to get back at Diamond? You know, there are plenty of lasses who would have been happy to accommodate you. Why my daughter?”
“This wasn’t just about bedding someone! I would never have done that to her, Merry!” Pippin was surprised at his own anger, and that Merry would think these things of him. “Ivy believes we can help each other, like you and Éowyn did.”
“That was an entirely different situation!”
“I know. I know that. But she...” He paused. “When I’m with her...” Pippin sighed. Might as well get it out into the open. “I love her, Merry.”
“You love her.” Merry shook his head and looked away from him.
Pippin bowed his head. “I’m sorry.” He leaned over and put his hand on Merry’s arm. “Can you forgive me?”
“I don’t know,” Merry said, jerking his arm away and standing. Pippin noticed Merry’s hand was bandaged. Merry went to the door and stopped. “I want you to leave,” he said, not turning around, “and you are not to see Ivy anymore.” He went out the door, slamming it behind him.
Pippin could only just stare at the door, too stunned to move. He had lost his best friend.
Estella rubbed at the small headache starting at her temple and contemplated the young woman sitting in front of her. Ivy had just confided all her fears and insecurities about herself. She had tearfully told Estella about being ridiculed in Gondor and then again here in the Shire. She had confided her feelings for Pippin, how he made her feel. But it still didn’t excuse what had happened.
“What were you thinking, Ivy?”
Ivy shrugged, keeping her eyes on her lap. “I love him, Estella.”
Estella didn’t feel like arguing with her about the differences between infatuations and love. Besides, she wasn’t so sure anymore what Ivy’s true feelings were. Her feelings for Pippin seemed to be more than an infatuation. If the girl said she was in love, Estella would believe her. She sat next to Ivy, putting her arm around her. “I know you do. But there are certain steps you’re supposed to take before you bed him. You know, courting and marriage.”
“It didn’t stop my parents.”
“This is not about your parents,” Estella said, trying to keep her voice calm. She knew it was petty, but she was quite tired of hearing about Éowyn and Merry.
“They found comfort in each other. Why can’t I do the same with Pippin?”
“You are not Éowyn, Ivy! You were not going into battle! You are a girl who is confused about her place in the world and--”
“You don’t understand! Leave me alone.” Ivy got up and went for the door.
“Ivy!” Ivy turned to look at her with that glare that was all too common on tween-aged girls. “It’s one thing to love him, Ivy, but did you think this would solve anything? Did you think he would marry you after this? He may never be able to divorce Diamond. Then what will you do?”
“I’ll go to Rohan, become a Rider and seek death on the battlefield.”
Estella resisted the urge to scream at the stubbornness of tween-aged girls. Of Rohirric teen-aged girls. “That’s enough, Ivy!”
“I’m old enough to make my own decisions! I wish everyone would stop treating me like a child!”
“Then quit acting like one!”
Ivy rolled her eyes and turned to leave again. Estella ran over and grabbed her arm, stopping her.
“Did you consider the consequences of your actions? If Diamond finds out, she’ll only make things harder for Pippin.”
“But she’s doing the same thing!”
“It doesn’t matter. She’s not seeking a divorce. Her unfaithfulness is his only hope for getting the divorce! And what about Pippin? He was drunk, Ivy. What if you’ve gotten him into a situation that he never really wanted. The worst thing is that you’ve come between him and your father.”
That struck a chord with Ivy. She looked guilty now. “I didn’t mean to...” She slumped into a chair, fresh tears on her cheeks.
Estella sighed. There were more things to consider. She didn’t want to think about the possibility, but she had to ask. “How about other consequences? When was your last monthly?”
Ivy’s eyes widened and then she looked down. “About a week ago,” she whispered.
“A week ago?” Estella exclaimed. “Gods, Ivy, that’s all we need.” Forget the screaming. What she really needed was a bottle of whiskey. They just had to do this at the most likely time for Ivy to get pregnant. Estella rubbed at the sudden increase in her headache. “You know better, Ivy. I thought Éowyn talked to you about this. Didn’t you consider...?” She paused. Oh, not this.... “Were you trying to get pregnant?”
“No!” The fear on Ivy’s face was enough for Estella to know she was telling the truth. “I just... I didn’t think about it.” Ivy lay her hands on her belly. “Do you think I could be?” she whispered. “It was just once.”
“It only takes once!” said Estella. “So you had better start thinking about what you’ll tell your father if you are.”
Ivy paled. “Can’t you tell him?” she pleaded.
“No, Ivy. If you want to be treated like an adult, then it’s your responsibility to tell him.” After they got Pippin safely out of the Shire, she thought to herself, because Merry would not handle that bit of news very well at all. “Now, I think you should go talk to Pippin. You need to discuss this with him, Ivy. He needs to know what he may have to deal with.” Estella patted her shoulder and sighed. “I’ll go keep your father distracted while you see him.”
Ivy paused, her hand hovering in front of the door. She was afraid. What would she say to him? What did he think of her? She sighed and let two knocks fall, then stepped back.
The door opened and Pippin stood there. He looked tired and he had a large bruise on his jaw. Ivy felt sick at the thought of what she had done to her father and Pippin’s friendship.
“Ivy?” He looked out into the hall, both ways, then back at her. “I don’t think you should be here.”
“Estella’s distracting Dad,” she said. She wrapped her arms around her stomach, roiling with nerves. “She said we should talk before you leave.”
“All right,” he said and stepped back to let her enter the room. He shut the door behind her.
Ivy went to the window and looked out at the garden. Anywhere but at Pippin. She knew what she had to say to him, but she didn’t know how to say it. Maybe she’d just start with an apology. She glanced over at him. He was sitting on the bed, shoulders hunched, staring at his hands in his lap.
“I’m sorry, Pippin,” she said quietly. “I took advantage of you. You weren’t thinking straight because of the drink and Diamond. I didn’t mean for any of this to happen, with Dad...” She sniffled. “I just thought we could make each other feel better.”
He shook his head. “Ivy,” he sighed. “You didn’t take advantage of me. It’s my fault. I should never have let it go this far and I’m sorry... for everything. Being drunk is no excuse. I should have known better.” He leaned forward, head in hand. “I’m so sorry.”
“You don’t have to apologize to me.” She turned towards him. “You didn’t do anything I didn’t want you to do.”
“It doesn’t matter, Ivy. I shouldn’t have done it. It was wrong.”
“No,” she whispered, shaking her head. She hugged herself, feeling miserable, and then the sobs came, because she loved him and he thought it was wrong.
“Ivy.” He was next to her suddenly and his arms were around her, pulling her close. She hugged him back, holding tight, her face pressed into his neck as the tears soaked his shirt. “I’m sorry,” he whispered in her ear.
“I do love you, Pippin,” she mumbled against his neck.
“I know, Ivy.”
She clenched her fists against his back, trying to hold off a fresh wave of tears. She decided not to tell him that she could be pregnant. It had all been a mistake, and it was her fault, so she wouldn’t burden him with this until she knew for sure.
He let her go and looked at her sadly. Then he turned and grabbed a pack from the floor. It rattled from his chain armor inside. “I have to go now. We probably won’t see each other for a while, so...” He gave a sad sigh. “Goodbye, Ivy.”
“You won’t stay for elevensies?” she asked quickly. She didn’t want him to go.
“I don’t think I’d be a welcome guest. Your father doesn’t like me much.” He looked so utterly defeated. “I’m sorry, Ivy,” he said and went out the door.
Ivy slumped into the chair by the window and stared out into the garden. Everything was a mess. She didn’t know when she’d see Pippin again, her dad was furious with both of them, and... She rested her hand over her stomach. She wouldn’t know for another month if she’d have that to deal with as well. She didn’t know what to do anymore. Maybe her mother would take her back. She wiped at her tears. It probably would have been best for everyone if she’d just stayed in Gondor.
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.