95. Chapter 94 - May 1438
They stopped at the top of the steps. Pippin drew his sword and walked forward to lay it across the threshold of the main door, a Rohirric addition to a custom shared by both Rohirrim and Hobbits. He came back to her and she raised an eyebrow at him. “Are you sure about this?”
He snorted. “Are you implying I’m too old for this?”
Ivy squealed when he suddenly swept her up into his arms. “No,” she laughed, looping her arm around his neck.
He kissed her, then carried her through the doorway, ensuring that she wouldn’t stumble on her first entrance into her new home. The bride tripping at the threshold would bring them bad luck in their marriage, so the husband made sure she couldn’t stumble at all.
Ivy wondered if there were rules about the husband stumbling, but she didn’t have to worry because Pippin got her inside, safe and sound, and set her down.
The rest of the family filed in around them, going back to their daily lives now that the Thain had returned. Reg came up to them, carrying Pippin’s sword. “I had to take this out of little hands,” Reg said, giving a slight nod towards Fari.
“Fari, what did I say about the swords,” Pippin scolded.
Fari huffed and looked at his feet. “They’re dangerous and I mustn’t touch them unless you say I can,” he mumbled.
“Right.” Pippin patted his son’s head.
Fari looked up at his father and Ivy had to bite her lip to stop the giggle. Fari had the exact same ‘innocent’ look Pippin used when he was trying to get out of trouble.
Fari scampered off to join his cousins and Pippin took Ivy’s hand. “Come with me. I have another gift for you.”
Ivy smiled and shook her head. He’d not only given her the required morgengifu their first day at Crickhollow--well, it had actually ended up being an afternoon gift, as they had been distracted by the book--but he’d also given her a gift every day of their time at Crickhollow.
The first gift had been the most extravagant--he’d given her his father’s farm just north of Great Smials, where he’d spent most of his life before Paladin had become Thain. Land was a common morgengifu in Rohan, and Pippin wanted to do the same for her. It was farmed by tenants now, but the farm’s profits would go to her.
The other gifts had been less extravagant than a farm, but they were no less valuable. He’d given her his small herd of ponies; their breeding and bloodlines would now be up to her. He’d given her a small tapestry of Edoras, commissioned while they were in Rohan, to remind her of her mother’s people. He’d given her a book he’d obtained from the library of Imladris, a history of Middle-earth. “You can translate it for me,” he had joked. “My knowledge of Sindarin consists of ‘When do we eat?’” He’d given her two necklaces, both made by Gimli: one a pendant with a rose-colored jewel from the Glittering Caves, the other a string of tiny, gold ivy leaves. On their last day he’d given her a silver comb, most likely of Dwarvish origin, that he’d found in the Old Took’s rooms.
They waited in the hall as the servants put their baggage in the bedroom, then Pippin took her hand. “Close your eyes,” he said, and tugged her forward.
She noticed the smell of new varnish, strong underneath the scent of pipeweed and the earthy smell of a smial. New furniture?
He let go of her hand and she heard the click of the door closing. “All right, you can look.”
She opened her eyes and gasped in amazement. A massive bed dominated the room, the posts carved with the knotwork designs of Rohan. It was as large as a bed for the Big Folk, but its legs were short enough for a normal-sized hobbit to use it without too much difficulty. “It’s beautiful, Pippin.” she breathed.
“I ordered it when we were in Rohan and your uncle brought it,” Pippin explained as she ran her hand over the carvings. He slipped his hands around her waist. “You had told me I should get a new bed, remember?” he whispered in her ear.
Ivy smiled and turned to look at him. “So I did.”
Pippin grinned back, then hopped up on the bed and lay back, patting the thick feather mattress next to him. “Would you like to try it out?” he asked, winking at her.
She giggled and shook her head. “Don’t you think everyone will wonder where we’ve gone?” she asked. She got on the bed and lay down next to him. The bed was enormous. Plenty of room for...sleeping.
“Oh, I think they’ll know exactly where we’ve gone,” Pippin said, cuddling next to her and tugging up her skirt. “We are newlyweds after all.”
Ivy didn’t think the day could get any worse. First off, she’d gotten her monthly this morning. She was a little disappointed, but it wasn’t a big surprise--Estella had told her getting pregnant might take some time. But then Pippin had seemed a little put-out because she didn’t feel like being touched and she’d snapped at him. He’d had to leave with Ferdy, to go visit fields and tenants today, before she had a chance to apologize to him. She sniffled. She hoped he wasn’t too mad at her.
Then Aunt Flora, the same aunt who had made such a fuss about their betrothal, had dropped not so subtle hints at second breakfast that the Mistress of Tuckborough should be inviting relatives to tea rather than hiding herself away with the Thain for an unseemly amount of time. Ivy was proud of herself, that she’d managed to hold her tongue, especially today when she was already feeling awful. She and Pippin had only snuck away a few times her first four days here at Great Smials. Otherwise, she’d been busy learning about her duties with Pippin’s sisters and trying to get to know the servants. So she’d invited Flora and the other aunts sitting with her to tea that afternoon...and she regretted it from the moment she’d walked away from them. She wasn’t feeling well and she wasn’t in the mood to deal with them. And she knew they weren’t going to be pleasant company.
Unfortunately, she was right. It started as soon as they arrived at her parlor. She noticed the sneers at her dress as they walked in. They had all dressed up, but she was wearing a normal dress--she was planning on going to the kitchen afterwards, to visit with the cooks, so she hadn’t bothered to dress up. After that, they commented on everything she had done wrong: the napkins weren’t folded right, the tea was too strong, the water not hot enough, and Eglantine had always used the best tea set, with the yellow roses, when they had visited her for tea, rather than the everyday set, with the lilacs, that Ivy had used. Ivy had just bitten her tongue and taken it. She didn’t want to give them something to use against her, or cause trouble for Pippin. And at least they weren’t comparing her to Diamond.
Now they were finally gone and Ivy didn’t feel like going to the kitchen anymore. She didn’t want to see anyone at all. She curled up on the couch under the window, staring out into the garden, and wondered if this had all been a mistake after all. No matter what Pippin said, she wasn’t going to be a good Mistress. Everything she did would be nitpicked by relatives, always comparing her to other Mistresses who had done a much better job than a tomboy from Buckand. She sniffled again and buried her face in her arms. She wished she were home, at Brandy Hall. She wished she had Estella to bring her tea for her cramps, or her dad just to give her a hug.
The parlor door opened and she wiped her eyes and looked up. Pippin was coming in, smiling at her, but then he frowned and rushed over to sit next to her. He took her hands. “What’s wrong, love?” he asked.
She bowed her head and shrugged. “I’m...I’m just having a bad day,” she mumbled.
He touched her cheek, guiding to look at him. “What happened?”
She shrugged again. “I’m not feeling well and...” She sighed. “I had tea with your Aunt Flora.”
“Alone?” Pippin asked.
She shook her head. “ A few of your other aunts as well. Petunia and--”
Pippin muttered something under his breath, cutting her off. “Nobody else was with you? Just them?”
She nodded. “They spent the whole time telling me what I did wrong.”
He embraced her and kissed her brow. “I’m sorry.” He pulled back to look at her. “I suppose the tea was their idea?”
“They said it was my duty to invite them.”
He coughed. “Well, perhaps it is. But next time, you should invite at least one of my sisters to join you as well.” He snorted. “At least until you learn to deal with them on your own. All right?”
She nodded again, then embraced him and lay her head on his shoulder. “I’m sorry about this morning.”
“This morning?” He sounded genuinely puzzled.
She looked up at him. “When I snapped at you. I thought you might be mad at me about that.”
“Oh.” He chuckled. “No. I wouldn’t be mad at you about that.” He smiled and patted her cheek. “I have three sisters, Ivy. I learned a long time ago that there are certain times when it’s safest just to run and hide.”
Ivy smirked. Her brothers had learned the same thing.
He kissed her gently. “Why don’t you go lie down for a while. I need to go do something, but I’ll be right back. All right?”
She nodded. She would have preferred that he stay her with her, because she didn’t feel so homesick when Pippin was with her, but she couldn’t expect him to drop all his responsibilities for her because she wasn’t feeling well.
He stood and pulled her to her feet, then sent her off towards the door to their bedroom with a kiss.
She took her hair out of her braids and stripped down to her chemise, then climbed into their huge bed. It was nicer, lying down. She wondered how long Pippin would be gone. He hadn’t said what he needed to do.
She must have dozed off, because the next thing she knew Pippin was shaking her awake.
“I brought you something,” he said. He sat on the edge of the bed and held out a steaming cup. It smelled just like...
“That’s the tea Estella always made for me.”
He smiled. “That’s what Nel said. She said it works wonders.” Ivy sat up and he handed her the cup. “Nel said she’d bring dinner down for us, if you didn’t feel like going today.”
Ivy sipped at her tea. She probably should go...but she just didn’t want to. “That would be very nice,” she said. She giggled. “So, did you go ask your sisters how to deal with me.”
“Yes.” He patted her thigh and winked.
She laughed, then drained her cup of tea. She was already starting to feel better, but she didn’t know if it was the tea or it was because Pippin had been the one to bring it to her. She set the cup on the side table and lay back. “I think I’m going to nap for a while longer.” The tea always made her feel a little sleepy.
“Do you want me to leave?” he asked, gesturing towards the door that led to their parlor.
“No.” She turned back the blanket next to her. “You can stay.”
He shed his coat--but left the rest of his clothes on--before getting into bed with her. He cuddled close, but hesitated to touch her. “What aches and what doesn’t?” he asked.
She giggled again. “No breasts. They hurt. But you can do this.” She pulled his arm around her waist and wriggled closer to him. She sighed--the tea warm in her stomach, Pippin warm behind her--maybe this day wasn’t so bad after all. “You know,” she murmured sleepily, “the easiest way to deal with this is if you get me pregnant. Then I don’t have to deal with it at all.” She turned her head slightly to smile at him.
Pippin chuckled and kissed her ear. “I’ll do my best. As often as it takes.”
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.