86. Chapter 85 - September 1437
“That should be all,” Sam said, gathering up the papers. “Nice and easy since you’ve already worked out the particulars while you were in Rohan.” He passed a copy each to Ivy’s dad and Pippin.
Rosie came into Bag End’s parlor, carrying a tray of tea. “All finished, then, are you?” she asked, setting the tray down on the table next to Estella. Rosie passed Ivy her cup of tea.
“Thank you, Rosie,” Ivy said. She was still getting used to calling the Gamgees just Rosie and Sam. Being Pippin’s friends, they’d become her friends, too, rather than ‘aunt’ and ‘uncle’.
“Are you going to be having a Rohirric wedding as well?” Sam asked.
“For the most part,” Pippin said. “But though we won’t need the Mayor to officiate, seeing as we’ve got the King of Rohan coming, I will be needing you as a best man, Mister Gamgee.”
Sam looked a little surprised. “Me, Mister Pipppin?”
“Of course!” said Pippin. “Seeing as you’re my second-best-friend and all.” Sam flushed a little at Pippin’s words. Ivy smiled. Even after all these years, Sam still hadn’t gotten used to being close friends with the two most important hobbits in the Shire. “You and Reg, Ev and Ferdy.” He leaned towards Sam. “Your job,” he said in a mock whisper, “is to help me fight off the Brandybucks and steal away with the girl if the need arises.”
“Ha!” Her dad fixed Pippin with a glare, a smile just tugging at the corner of his mouth. “I’d like to see you try!”
They all laughed, and Sam shook his head, chucking. “Well, I’m honored to be asked, Mister Pippin,” he said.
“What is a Rohirric ceremony like?” Rosie asked.
“It’s not so different from ours,” Pippin said. “Promises to be supportive and faithful and the like. The only real difference is the swords.”
Rosie’s eyebrows shot up. “Swords?”
“We exchange swords,” said Ivy. “I’m having a new one made for Pippin. Gimli will bring it with him.” She smiled. She’d had a lot of fun designing that sword with Éowyn and Gimli. Gimli was making it for her. “And Pippin gives me an ancestral sword that I will pass on to our children.”
“Except I don’t really have one,” Pippin sighed. “Hobbits aren’t exactly known for swords, and this one has to be an important sword. The only really famous hobbit sword belonged to Brandobras Took and the North-tooks have it.” He gave a wry grin. “I don’t think I’ll be able to get that one.”
“We still need to go through the Old Took’s rooms,” Ivy’s dad said. “There’s bound to be something in there.”
“You’ve seen those rooms, Merry!” Pippin exclaimed. “It’s frightening! I wouldn’t doubt that he has a dragon stashed in one of those old cupboards!” He snorted. “Before we go in there, we need to prepare for a full expedition. Moria will seem like a stroll through Hobbiton compared to those rooms!”
Ivy laughed. It was well known that the rooms at Great Smials that had belonged to her great-great-great grandfather, Gerontius Took, was a nightmare of moldy furniture, cupboards bursting with mathoms, and just...stuff. Nobody had ever been brave enough to go clean them out after he died.
“I’m sure you’ll get a proper sword, Mister Pippin,” Sam said.
Pippin shrugged. “Well, if all else fails, I can give Ivy my own sword. It at least has some history behind it.”
He sighed and Ivy touched his hand. She knew he wanted to give her a proper Rohirric wedding, but the sword was an issue. In Rohan, swords were used by generations of Riders and each had a story behind it. Even a farmer’s family sword had seen battle. But the only swords in the Shire were tarnished relics, hundreds of years old, that had hung over the family fireplace for so long that if you were to take it down, there’d be a pattern of a sword on the sooty wall.
“Your sword would be perfect,” Ivy said, “and you’ll be getting a new one, so it would be appropriate to give your Gondorian sword to be passed on.”
Pippin shrugged. “I suppose. I just wanted to give you a special sword.”
Ivy shared a look with her dad. She’d have him talk to Pippin about it, that any sword Pippin gave her would be wonderful.
They had another betrothal party, for their Shire friends and relations, at Great Smials. The Tooks who had been so disagreeable about their courtship now had no choice but to acknowledge her as their future Mistress. Ivy couldn’t help but feel a little smug about that. But most Tooks seemed pleased with the betrothal. Vinca told her their relatives had watched the change come over Pippin when he started courting her, how he was once again the happy, laughing hobbit they remembered before he’d married Diamond. They couldn’t help but love Ivy for that.
Before the party, Pippin’s sisters brought Ivy to Pearl’s parlor. “We have a gift for you,” Pearl said, and she disappeared into a side door and returned with a small cherrywood box. She set it on the table next to Ivy’s chair and opened it. It was a jewelry box, filled with necklaces, rings, brooches and combs. Pearl pulled out a necklace, a gold chain with a round emerald pendant. “Mum gave each of us one of her necklaces on our betrothals,” Pearl said. “She was saving this one for Pippin’s wife--it matches his eyes, Mum always said--but she couldn’t bring herself to give it to...the cow.” Pearl coughed and her sisters snickered. She opened the clasp on the necklace and held it out to Ivy. “I know she would want you to have it, Ivy. She would have loved to see Pippin as happy as he is with you.”
Ivy studied the pendant, watching the light catch the facets on the emerald. The chain was very fine and had to have been Dwarvish--or possibly even Elvish--in origin.
“Well, let’s see it on you,” Nel laughed.
Ivy blushed a little and lifted her hair so Pearl could put the necklace on her. The chain would have been a little long for a hobbit--more evidence for a non-hobbit origin--but it seemed to be just the right size for her. Probably Dwarvish, then.
“It’s perfect,” Pearl said. “Like it was meant for you.” She smiled. Her sisters echoed their approval of the necklace on Ivy.
“I’m glad mum didn’t give it to her,” Vinca said. “Mum didn’t give her anything at all.” She leaned closer to Ivy. “It’s not known outside the immediate family, but Mum didn’t like Diamond from the start. She was furious with Dad for making that deal with the North-tooks. In private, she didn’t speak to him for weeks.”
“We think it’s what made her health deteriorate,” Pearl said. “Pippin was her favorite and it made her sick having to watch him be so miserable. Dad didn’t want to believe it though...” She sighed sadly.
“I’m sorry,” Ivy said. She fingered the small emerald that hung just above swell of her breasts, the jewel that had belonged to Eglantine Banks Took. She had barely known Pippin’s mother. She had died not long after Ivy turned nine. Ivy only had vague memories of her, from parties and visits to Great Smials. Ivy remembered she had been very nice and pretty and had been close to her Gran, but that was all.
“What’s done is done,” Pearl said with a slight shake of her head. “But I know she would have adored you. She only wanted to see Pippin happy, and you’ve made that happen.”
Ivy didn’t know what to say to that. She was happy Pippin’s sisters thought that Pippin’s mum would have liked her, but she felt sad for Eglantine, dying because of her son’s misery. Another life Diamond had ruined.
Pearl closed the box of treasures and brushed her fingers over the leaves carved into the lid. “This will be yours as well,” she said.
Ivy looked up at her, surprised. She’d assumed the box was Pearl’s. “For... me?”
“It’s a tradition to pass the Mistress’ jewels to the next Mistress,” Pearl said. “A tradition Mum broke by giving them to me rather than Diamond. But now they can go to their proper owner. And you will add to the box and pass treasures on to your daughters at their betrothals. And someday the box will go to the next Mistress of Tuckborough.” Pearl picked up the box. “It’s a long tradition. The box itself dates back to Isumbras the First’s wife, and some of the rings are thought to have belonged to Bucca’s wife.”
Ivy couldn’t remember when Isumbras--the first Took Thain--reigned, but she knew that Bucca, the very first Thain of the Shire, lived a thousand years ago. The box was very valuable indeed.
“Pippin will officially give this to you after you’ve married,” Pearl said. “It will be waiting for you in his--well, your room.” Pearl winked at her.
“And don’t worry, we’ll make sure Pippin’s rooms are ready for you,” Nel said. “We’ll need to add some feminine furniture--a dressing table and a proper wardrobe.” She grinned. “Not that you’ll be noticing any of your furniture other than the bed that first week or so.” The three sisters all laughed. Ivy’s cheeks went warm. What was it that made women talk like this when a girl got betrothed? And Pearl was a grandmother now, and here she was giggling like a tween!
“Pippin told us about the Rohirric wedding,” Vinca said. “That sounds exciting, though I think some of the old aunts might have a fit when the swords come out.” Vinca grinned. Ivy didn’t think Pippin’s sisters were too concerned about offending their stuffy old aunts.
“What are you going to wear?” Pearl asked. “Something Rohirric?”
“No,” Ivy said. “My mother is having a dress made for me. Apparently it’s similar to Queen Arwen’s wedding dress.” She shrugged. Her mother had seemed quite certain she would love the dress. Ivy really didn’t care too much. She’d never been interested in dresses like other girls. And she wanted her mother to be involved in the wedding--Éowyn wouldn’t be arriving until a week or two beforehand--so she’d let her mother take measurements and left the dress up to her. “She didn’t tell me much about it--she wants it to be a surprise. But I think she told Estella about it.”
“So they got along all right?” Pearl asked.
Ivy rolled her eyes. “Too well. I think they enjoyed embarrassing me with their ‘advice’.”
The sisters laughed again. “I’m sure you’ll be appreciating that ‘advice’ in...hmm... eight months?” Nel said.
Ivy couldn’t help the shy smiled that accompanied her blush. Eight months! And then she’d be Pippin’s wife.
“Now that we’ve embarrassed you, too,” Pearl said, “we should let you go. Our poor baby brother is probably looking for you.”
“The wedding won’t come soon enough for him,” Vinca said with an exaggerated sigh. “He pines for you, you know. He got used to seeing you every day this summer, and now...” She gave another exaggerated sigh, barely hiding her smile.
“You just watch him,” Pearl said as they made their way out of her parlor. “He’s probably moping around out in the garden because we’ve stolen you away, but as soon as he sees you, his face will light up and he’ll only see you.”
Ivy snorted at Pearl’s prediction, but sure enough, a forlorn-looking Pippin only seemed to be half-listening to a conversation between her dad and Reg. When he saw them coming across the garden, he beamed at her and got up to come to her. His sisters giggled. “See?” said Vinca.
He did seem to only have eyes for her, ignoring his sisters as he came towards her.
“See? We brought her back,” Pearl said to him and she kissed his cheek. Nel and Vinca did the same as they filed past him, following Pearl out into the garden. Pippin made a face, like a little boy having to endure kisses from old aunts, that made Ivy giggle. Then he turned to her.
“I missed you,” he said and pulled her close to kiss her.
Ivy smiled into the kiss, because everything his sisters had predicted had been right.
He pulled back to look at her. “So what did they talk to you about?”
“They gave me this,” she said, brushing her fingers over the necklace.
Pippin smiled broadly. “Pearl said she’d be giving it to you,” he said. “It looks beautiful on you.” He ran a finger down the chain to the pendant. “I wish my mum could have seen it on you.”
“I wish she could have, too,” Ivy said. She covered his hand with hers. “I’m sorry. They told me about her,” she whispered. “How she was sad for you and--”
Pippin cut her off with a finger to her lips and shook his head. “Not today. Mum wouldn’t want us dwelling on sad things today.” He took her hand and kissed it. “Today I only want to think of how happy you make me.”
He kissed her again, a kiss that she felt down to toes. She pulled back, a little out of breath. “Do you think we should be doing this in the middle of the garden?” she asked, eyebrow raised.
He chuckled. “No.” He leaned close to her. “I’d much prefer to take this elsewhere.” He gazed into her eyes with that look that gave her a fire low in her belly. “But I’m afraid if I tried that, your father would kill me.” He winked and held out his arm. “Shall we?”
She nodded and took his arm so they could go greet their newly arrived guests. She tried to ignore the desire that flared within her. She didn’t think the wedding would come soon enough either.
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.