96. Chapter 95 - August 1438
“I don’t want to talk about it anymore, Estella!”
Merry looked up, surprised, when Ivy’s angry voice echoed in the hallway. Estella was supposed to be visiting Ivy in Tuckborough.
“You’re being unreasonable, Ivy,” he heard Estella say. He could tell by Estella’s tone she was having to try very hard to stay calm. Underneath that, she sounded exasperated. They must have been arguing the whole way here. He got up and went to the door of his study.
“He’s the one being unreasonable!” shouted Ivy.
Ah, Merry thought. Their first fight. It had taken them a whole three months. He chuckled. He and Estella had had their first fight only two weeks after the honeymoon. They’d fought about....well, he couldn’t really remember what it was now, except it had taken place in angry whispers in the bedroom so as to not upset Ivy. Then Estella had gone home to her mother for a few days to cool down. When she came back, they’d made up. They’d had to be quiet then, too.
He went out in the hall, following the sound of their voices into his family’s wing. He heard a door slam.
“Ivy!” Estella was standing outside Ivy’s old room. “It’s really not good for you to get upset like this.”
The door was flung open and Ivy leaned out. “Then maybe he should have thought about that before forbidding me to ride my pony!”
What? thought Merry. Pippin? Who had taught Ivy to ride at a gallop--without his permission--when she was a child had forbidden her to ride her pony?
“Ivy, he has every right to be worried. And I agree with him. It’s just not safe--”
“My mother kept riding long after she was showing! She didn’t have any problems.”
Showing? What...? Realization hit him and he raced down the hall. “Ivy!” he said, reaching her door.
She looked at him, eyes narrowed, face flushed in anger. She looked exactly like her mother when she was angry. Then her face softened. “Dad!” She threw herself into his arms.
He pulled back and looked at her. “You’re going to have a baby?”
She nodded, grinning now, and he hugged her again. A baby! His daughter was going to make him a grandfather... again... and he couldn’t be happier about it! Then he remembered her anger...
“What’s wrong?” he asked. “Why are you upset?”
Ivy started to talk but Estella cut her off. “She wants to continue riding and Pippin doesn’t want her to. He’s afraid she might get hurt or harm the baby.”
“Dad, tell her!” Ivy pleaded. “Éowyn kept riding. She rode to Rivendell when she was seven months along with me! I won’t do anything dangerous. I just want to be able to get away for a ride.”
Merry sighed. He was stuck. For once, he was on his daughter’s side in an argument with Estella. He knew Ivy was an excellent rider. And he had spent enough time in Rohan to see that the women continued riding until it was no longer comfortable. But Estella was glaring at him, and he’d be starting an argument with Pippin again...
He smiled at Ivy and took her hand in his, patting it. “Maybe we can come up with a compromise and--”
“Merry!” Estella shouted. “I can’t believe you’re actually saying this! You would let your daughter go out on a pony in her condition?”
He took a deep breath. He knew he’d pay for this. “Yes,” he said, wincing as he said it. Estella narrowed her eyes at him. He was in big trouble now.
“See?” exclaimed Ivy. “Thank you, Dad.” She kissed him on the cheek and went back in her room, slamming the door shut behind her.
Estella was still glaring at him.
“Forget it!” she said, walking back down the hall. “I’m not the one you’re going to have to argue with. I told Pippin I’d bring her here to give her the night to cool off and he could come get her tomorrow. You can deal with him then.” Estella stomped away, grumbling to herself.
Merry sighed, watching Estella disappear down the hall. Then he looked at Ivy’s door and grinned. A baby! He was going to be a grandfather!
Ivy didn’t show up for dinner or supper, so Merry took her a tray. He’d try to talk to her, try to calm her down before Pippin got here tomorrow.
He knocked on the door. It was flung open by a scowling Ivy. When she saw it was him--and that he had food--she smiled. “Oh, thanks, Dad. I’m starving.” She took the tray and went in her room. He followed and closed the door.
“Did you want something?” she asked, her mouth full of a bite of bread. Her eyes narrowed and she swallowed. “Estella got to you, didn’t she?”
“No!” Merry said. He coughed. “Estella’s not exactly speaking to me right now.”
Ivy cringed. “Sorry.”
He shook his head. “It will get worked out.” He sat on the bed. “I wanted to talk to you on my own.” He paused, trying to think of the best way to put this. Ivy was temperamental normally. Pregnant? He remembered how moody Éowyn had gotten a few times in Rivendell. He felt sorry for Pippin now, as much as he’d felt sorry for Faramir then. “Is it really worth fighting over, not being able to ride your pony for a while?”
“Dad! You should have heard him!” she shouted. “I said I wanted to go ride out to the orchard for a picnic to celebrate and he said he wouldn’t allow me to ride while I was pregnant. He didn’t ask me to stop riding, he told me to!” She huffed and threw up her hands. “What’s wrong with him? He’s the one who taught me all the dangerous stuff! He’s the one who taught me how to gallop and jump when I was six! And how to climb trees and fight and use a sword when I was five! And--”
“Wait!” Merry frowned. “He taught you how to jump the pony? And...a sword? When you were how old?”
Ivy clapped her hand over her mouth. “Oh. You weren’t supposed to find out about that.”
Merry stood up. “I guess Pippin is getting paid back for risking your life against my wishes. Now he’s stuck with you and your dangerous hobbies.” He leaned down and kissed Ivy’s cheek. “Don’t get yourself so worked up, it’s not good for the baby. And leave me out of this argument. It’s between you and Pippin.”
She smiled and nodded. “Thanks, Dad.”
Merry left and stalked down the hall. Teaching a five-year-old to use a sword... Pippin could just fend for himself against Ivy.
“Estella said you’re taking her side.”
Merry looked up to see Pippin in the doorway of his study. He sighed and set down his pen.
“I’m not taking her side, Pippin. I’m staying out of it. It’s between you two. I made the mistake of giving my opinion that I thought it was safe for her to ride. But I told Ivy to leave me out of the argument.”
“How could you tell her that it was safe?” Pippin said angrily. He came in, stopping in front of Merry’s desk, arms crossed and face scowling.
“Women do it all the time in Rohan. Ivy is an excellent rider, Pippin. You need to trust her.”
Pippin sighed and slumped in the chair in front of Merry’s desk. “I know Merry. I do. But... I’m so afraid that something’s going to happen. I’m afraid that my life is too perfect right now and something’s going to go wrong.”
“Pippin,” Merry said. He got up and walked around his desk, stopping to put a hand on Pippin’s shoulder. “I think you’re telling this to the wrong person.”
Pippin nodded and stood up.
“Congratulations, by the way,” Merry said. He smiled and clapped Pippin on the shoulder.
“Thanks, Granddad!” Pippin grinned cheekily and turned to go.
“Oh, and Pippin?” Merry called after him. Pippin turned back. “The next time she wants to do something dangerous like ride her pony too fast or climb a tree, remember who it was who encouraged her to do dangerous things in the first place.” Merry sat back at his desk and picked up his pen. He looked up at Pippin. “You’re getting exactly what you deserve.”
Ivy answered the knock on her door and found her husband standing there. He looked far less angry than she expected. In fact, he looked a bit...sheepish.
“Pippin,” she said coldly and went back to sit on her bed. She’d gotten very little sleep last night, going over what she was going to say to him, trying to figure out what to do if he was going to continue to be stubborn about this. She’d only been able to imagine arguments and she’d been in a bad mood today because of it.
“Come to give me some more orders?” she asked, her frustration from last night’s imagined conversations spilling out. “Going to forbid me from doing other things that make me happy?”
He shook his head and sat next to her on the edge of the bed. “I talked to your dad,” he said. “He kind of set me straight.” He took her hand. Ivy had a brief throught of pulling it away, but decided to hear him out. He did sound sorry. “I’m just scared of something happening to you Ivy. To you or the baby. I had been so miserable for such a long time, so now that I’m happy I think it can’t last, that something bad is going to happen to bring me back down. I’m sorry, Ivy. I know you’re a good rider, but it scares me.”
Ivy nodded, her dark mood fading some. She could understand that. So why didn’t he just say this to her in the first place?
He scooted closer to her and she let him put his arms around her.
“How about this,” he said. “You continue to ride, but you always take someone with you. Just in case something happens.”
She nodded. “All right.” He looked surprised that she agreed. “You only had to be reasonable about it,” she said.
He nodded. “I know. I guess I... I wasn’t thinking straight.” He gave her a crooked grin. “Will you come home now?”
She snorted. “Of course I will.”
He grinned and hugged her. Then he put a hand on her belly. “You’re going to have a baby, Ivy!” he said, a little breathlessly.
She laughed. “I can’t believe you’re so surprised!” She patted his leg. “You were certainly putting a lot of effort into getting me this way!”
“I know. It’s just...” He touched her cheek and kissed her, then lay his head on her shoulder. He rubbed her belly in gentle circles. “This is all going to be new to me. Though I have Fari, I’ve never really experienced... much of any of this, really.”
“I know.” Ivy kissed his brow. She put her hand over his, over their child. “You can be involved in everything this time.”
His head shot up. He looked pale. “You’re...you’re not going to make me be there... like your mum did to your dad and Faramir... are you?”
Ivy snorted. She doubted Estella would allow it, but Pippin didn’t have to know that. Besides, she didn’t really know how she’d feel about it when the time came. She smiled and patted his cheek. “We’ll see.”
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.