83. Chapter 82 - May 1437
Pippin rode his pony next to her, the two of them following behind the wagon driven by her father. Pippin looked a little pale. He was nervous about seeing Faramir and Éomer after all that had happened. He’d come to an understanding with her father, but he still had her other father and a hot-headed uncle to deal with.
“What if they want to kill me?” Pippin had confided to her at camp one night.
Ivy had laughed at that. “Don’t worry, Pippin. My mother will protect you from them.”
Pippin had chuckled, some of his nervousness fading away. “Yeah, I guess you’re right.”
Ivy looked up ahead at the wagon, where her dad and Estella sat side by side. She knew Estella was nervous about meeting Éowyn. Ivy had tried her best to reassure Estella that Éowyn was looking forward to meeting her, but she also worried a little. She really wanted her two mothers to like each other.
Her brothers sat in the back of the wagon with Fari. They were still talking excitedly about meeting the Ents and riding around the forest in a ‘tree’. Ivy had been happy to see the Ents again, too. She chuckled at the memory. Treebeard had been so beside himself about seeing both Merry and Pippin again that he nearly talked as fast as young Quickbeam.
Now they were approaching the yard below Meduseld. Ivy smiled broadly when she saw her family waiting for them on the steps that led up to the Golden Hall. She slid from her pony and hurried up to her mother’s waiting arms.
“I missed you!” Éowyn said. Then she took Ivy’s face in her hands. “How are you?”
“I’m good,” Ivy said, smiling. Her mother kissed her, then let her go so she could greet Faramir and Uncle Éomer and Aunt Lothíriel. Then she turned to her siblings.
She grinned and reached up to pat her brother’s face. “You’re getting a beard!” she exclaimed, rubbing her fingers over the short hairs on his chin. Elboron was fifteen now and growing up quickly. He had to be a good half-foot taller than when she’s last seen him!
Elboron puffed himself up quite proudly. Théodred shook his head. “Don’t get him started...”
Ivy laughed and hugged her other brother, too, then gave her sister a hug. “You’re getting so big!” she said to Wyn. “You’re nearly as tall as me!”
“I’m seven now!” Wyn said excitedly.
Ivy grinned. “I know. Fari is seven, too.” She pointed back at Fari, standing with Theo and Eomer near the wagon.
Wyn looked around her at them. “They’re all boys?” she asked, disappointment in her voice.
“I’m afraid so,” said Ivy. “We’re the only girls, it seems.” Even their cousins were both boys.
She motioned for her brothers and Fari to come over, so she could introduce them. “These are my brothers, Theo and Eomer, and this is Pippin’s son Fari,” she said. “And these,” she said to the hobbits, “are my brothers Elboron and Théodred, my sister Wyn, and my cousins Elfwine and Beorfrith. Theo and Théodred are the same age, and so are Eomer and Beorfrith and Fari and Wyn.” The children all just stared at each other. Ivy shrugged. Oh well, she’d tried.
“Come over here, Fari,” Pippin called, and Fari scurried over to his dad. Pippin took his hand and led him over to Faramir. Faramir smiled and knelt down in front of the small boy.
“I’m Faramir,” he said, holding out his hand to Fari.
Fari just stared at him in awe. He’d grown up hearing stories about the brave Man he was named after. Ivy supposed it was a little overwhelming to meet your hero.
Pippin gave his son a little nudge. “I’m Faramir, too,” Fari said quietly and put his small hand into Faramir’s.
“Come on, Fari! We’re going to see the horses!” Theo called out from the crowd of her siblings and cousins. Apparently they’d made friends while she wasn’t looking because the whole lot of them were heading off towards the stable. Fari smiled shyly at Faramir then took off after them.
Ivy walked over to Pippin and slipped her arm around him. “He didn’t kill you, then?” she asked, glancing up at her stepfather and exchanging a smile with him.
“Erm... no,” Pippin said, flushing.
“Not this time,” Faramir said, winking at Ivy. “Éomer might have different plans, however.” Pippin’s face went pale. Faramir laughed and clapped him on the back. “I’m teasing you, Pippin,” he said. He smiled and gripped Pippin’s shoulder. “I think my stepdaughter has made a good choice, and her uncle agrees.”
Pippin let out a relieved breath and Ivy hugged him. “See? I told you.”
“Come with me,” Éowyn said that evening, and she took Ivy’s hand and led her away from the gathering to celebrate their arrival. She followed Éowyn around the back hallway of Meduseld. “I wanted to find out how you are really doing,” her mother said when they entered Ivy’s room. “With everything that has happened.”
Ivy smiled and sat on her bed. “It was rough. But it’s good now. Dad and I are good again. And Pippin...” She blushed. “He’s wonderful.”
“I see,” said Éowyn. She sat next to Ivy and took her hand. “So you’re happy?”
Ivy nodded. “I don’t know what I’d do without him.” She shrugged. “Be lonely and miserable, I guess.”
“Ivy.” Éowyn leaned over and kissed her brow. “I want you to be happy... more than anything. But I don’t want you to be with Pippin just because you think he’s your only choice. That will only make you both miserable in the end. I want you to be sure you truly love him.”
Ivy looked in her mother’s eyes. “I love him, Éowyn. I’m sure.”
Éowyn studied her face for a moment, then smiled. “I’m happy for you.”
“Not that it’s been all perfect,” Ivy said. “We had a bit of an argument in March. It was kind of stupid, now that we think about it. He was mad at me for acting like a tween...” She shook her head. “A teen, actually. And I was mad at him for acting like a nearly middle-aged hobbit.”
“Age differences can be difficult,” Éowyn said. “It will take a lot of understanding.”
“We talked about it. I don’t think it will be a problem anymore, now that we figured it out.” She shrugged. “And chances are, I’ll catch up to him eventually, when I’m about fifty. He’ll only be eighty then, and that’s not too old for a hobbit, but fifty for me...” She sighed.
“Fifty’s not all that old for us ‘Big Folk’ either!” Éowyn laughed. “Especially since I’ll be getting there in six years!”
“Oh, I forgot that!” Ivy said and gave her mother a sheepish grin. Her mother didn’t seem that old. She was still vibrant and not yet gray. But it was unusual for Big Folk to live beyond seventy--many of the peasants barely reached forty!--and it seemed such an awfully short time to Ivy when she was surrounded by hobbits who often lived to see one hundred. Her mother would be seventy in just twenty-six years. Ivy would be forty-three. And she didn’t know how much longer she’d have after that...
“Ivy?” Éowyn asked. “Is something wrong?”
“No,” she said. “Just...” She shook her head and decided she needed to change the subject. “Nothing. Just thinking. So how are you getting on with Estella?”
Éowyn grinned. “Oh, she’s lovely! She’s so much fun to talk to.” She laughed “We’re discovering we have so much in common! Tomorrow, we’re going to visit the healer so Estella can talk to her, and we can learn about hobbit methods of healing as well.”
Ivy smiled at her mother. Éowyn was like a girl who had just found a new best friend.
Her mother sighed. “I’m so happy Merry found such a wonderful woman to raise you,” she said, with a hint of melancholy to her voice. “She loves you very much. I can see it in her eyes when she talks about you.”
“I love her, too.” Ivy hugged her mother. “I love you both.”
“I know.” Éowyn smoothed her hand over Ivy’s hair. “I won’t begrudge Estella your love,” she said. “She is your mother as much as me.” She kissed Ivy’s brow and pulled away. “Now, we should get back to the celebration,” she said. Though her eyes were teary, Éowyn looked happy. Ivy nodded.
They walked back out to the hall, hand in hand, and then Éowyn passed her off to Pippin.
“Everything all right?” he asked and wiped a tear from the corner of her eye.
Ivy nodded and smiled. “Yes. Just talking.” She winked at him. “She wanted to be sure I really loved you.”
Pippin gave her a crooked smile and leaned close to whisper in her ear. “So did you tell her the truth? That you only want me for my skills in bed?”
She pushed him away, giggling, but he caught her hand and pulled her close again. Ivy looked into his eyes and pressed closer, her thigh pushing into the hardness in his breeches. His hands slid down her back to the curve of her hips and he leaned in to kiss her...
A cough startled them and they jumped apart. Merry, Faramir and Éomer were all frowning at them. She hadn’t even realised she had two fathers and an uncle sitting nearby. Ivy glanced at Pippin. His cheeks were as red as hers felt.
“Sorry,” they both mumbled. Ivy took Pippin’s hand and they hurried away. Ivy couldn’t help but start giggling.
“You are going to get me killed!” Pippin whispered.
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.