49. Chapter 49
“Here you go, Stel,” Fari said. He handed the mended kite back to his sister. “Now keep it away from the trees!”
Estella stood up from her spot next to him on the front steps of the Smials. “Thanks, Fari!” She held up the little kite to examine his repairs.
The sound of a cart on the road made them both look up. He didn’t think his father was expecting anyone and Fari didn’t recognize the cart or the occupants. He stood up to greet their guests. The cart stopped and two hobbits got out, then one turned to help a lady out. She stepped from the cart and looked up at him. His blood suddenly ran cold. It was Diamond.
“Go get Dad, Stel,” he whispered to his sister. “I think he and mum are walking in the orchard. Tell him that Diamond’s here. Be quick.” She nodded, still staring at the strangers, then took off running across the yard, disappearing around the side of the hill.
The group came towards him and Fari clenched his fists. He hadn’t seen Diamond since her confrontation with Ivy in Hobbiton, before the twins were born.
Diamond studied him for a moment, uncertainty on her face. “Faramir?” she asked.
“What are you doing here?” He didn’t even try to hide the hostility in his voice.
“Really, Faramir. Is that any way to greet your mother?”
“You are not my mother,” he growled, his jaw clenched tight with anger.
“Perhaps.” She gave him a sickly sweet smile and swept past him, up the front steps and into the Smials.
He went in after her. She was heading for his father’s study. He moved quickly to block her way. “Get out!” He pointed towards the door. “Get out of my home!”
“You’re not Thain yet, dear Faramir. And I have business to attend to with the Thain.” She walked towards him and he pulled back out of her way, not wanting her to touch him, and watched her go into the study. Her servants walked past him, both glaring at him.
He took a few deep breaths to calm himself, then followed them in.
Dimaond seated herself at his father’s desk. The two hobbits stood behind her.
“How have you been, Faramir?” she asked. He just glared at her. She raised an eyebrow at him. “I see.” She turned to her companions. “It seems my son has forgotten his manners,” she said. She gestured towards the door. “Leave us.” The pair walked out, still glaring at Fari, shutting the door behind them.
“Faramir,” Diamond said, leaning back in his father’s chair. “Why does it have to be like this. I’d like to think we can reconcile.”
He narrowed his eyes at her. After all she’d done, after all the pain she’d put them through, she wanted to reconcile? “Why?”
“I’m worried about you, Faramir. I don’t think your father is making the right decisions about you.”
“It’s not any of your concern, though, is it?” He walked up to the desk and leaned over to glare at her. “You’re not my mother. Ivy is.”
“Yes, Ivy.” She smiled at him. “How is the lass? Pregnant again, I suppose?” She tapped her chin thoughtfully. “I remember when she and her brothers would come to visit, and you would all play together in the nursery. And your father would go in to tell you a story, and dear little Ivy always had to sit on his lap. Your father would hug her and kiss her--”
Fari pushed away from the desk, turning away, seething. He should have known better than to bring up Ivy. He should have known she’d say things like that.
“Forgive me, Faramir. That was rude of me to bring up such things.”
He turned back to her. “What do you want?”
“I want my son back. Is that too much to ask?” She looked away for a moment. “I know I wasn’t the best mother, Faramir--”
“I know I wasn’t the best mother,” she said. “But I’d like to make up for it. I want to be your mother again.”
Fari narrowed his eyes at her. “Why?”
“Faramir!” She slapped her hands on the desk. “Why does there have to be a motive. Why can’t I just want my son back?”
“After all this time? How many years since you left here? How many years since you last saw me? And I know how you felt about us, the hatred for Dad and for me...” He clenched his fists and squeezed his eyes shut and decided to ask the question that had plagued him his whole life. “Why did you hate me?”
“Faramir...” Her voice was calm and gentle. “I’m sorry. I am. I didn’t mean for it. It’s just that you looked so much like him, you were like him in every way. Nothing of me. And I was angry about it, it felt like you were mocking me.” She paused for a moment. “I was wrong.”
Fari opened his eyes. “That’s it? Because I took after my father, you refused to be my mother?” He gave a strangled laugh. “Great gods...” He collected himself, pushing back the anger. “So why do you hate my father so much? He doesn’t even know.”
Her face hardened. “Because everything bad that has ever happened to me happened because of him.”
He shook his head. “What are you talking about?”
“Because your father and his cousins and that gardner left the Shire and stirred up trouble with the Big Folk! And the Big Folk came here and...” She looked away for a moment, her fists clenching. “And some of the lads went down to fight them off and when they came back...the lad I’d been sweet on since I was a teen came home in a wagon with a hole in his chest where one of those animals had stuck an arrow.”
Far opened his mouth to speak, then shut it again. He wasn’t sure what to say.
“We went down to the memorial,” she continued, “for all the lads that were killed at Bywater. And I stood at that memorial stone and I touched poor Doro’s name, and then that Mad Baggins comes up to me and says he’s sorry. He’s sorry! He goes off to foreign places and gets the Big Folk to notice us, gets them angry at us, and they come and kill our lads and he’s sorry!”
“They didn’t cause it!” Fari said, stepping back up to the desk. “The invaders would have come here anyway!”
“Doro’s cousin heard the Men laughing about it, Faramir! That old Sharkey wanted to teach the four of them a lesson! He came here because of your father and the rest of them!”
“They saved the Shire! They helped save the world! Do you have any idea what was happening, what could have happened if not for Frodo Baggins?”
“All I know is Doro died because some old wizard took a dislike to hobbits, because of Peregrin Took and his friends.”
“So that’s it? You hate Dad because of that? Because of a war he had no control over?”
“Oh, but that’s not the end of it. You see, I went back to Long Cleeve, and mourned my lost love, and tried my very best to forget about Bywater and Baggins and the rest of them. Then a few years later I met another lad, Mosco Hornblower. And we were happy and in love and he was just getting up the courage to ask my father about a betrothal, when word gets out that the Thain was looking for a wife for his son. And it seems the Thain had gotten the idea of reuniting with the North-tooks and wrote my father about it. And my father thinks this is a wonderful idea and with me being his only daughter, well, that was that, wasn’t it?
“I tried to fight it. I told my father that Mosco was going to be speaking to him, but he refused to listen because you can’t turn down the Thain of the Shire, can you? So I confessed to him I’d already bedded Mosco, hoping it would change his mind, but instead he gets angry and within a week Mosco has been betrothed to my favorite cousin, Daffodil, and I’m being sent off to Tuckborough to get betrothed to your father.”
“That’s hardly Dad’s fault.” Fari shook his head. “He didn’t have any control over it, same as you.”
“But don’t you see? Everything bad that has ever happened to me involved your father. I lost my lovers, my best friend, my home--all because of Peregrin Took! Then I had to marry him and let him touch me...” She sat back, composing herself. “But no matter what I think of your father, I want things between us to be different.”
Fari just stared at her. She was insane. “And you think I’d accept you, after everything you’ve done?”
“I would hope that you could understand why I did it. I regret how I treated you. I was blinded by my...problems with your father.”
Faramir studied her for a moment. He could sense there was something more to this. For all her talk of reconciling, he saw no love in her eyes. Then it hit him. “You want it back.”
“You think you’ll get the respect back, if I accept you.” He shook his head. “You want to be the mother of the Thain’s heir again.” He couldn’t believe this, that she’d even try this. “And what better way to get at Dad as well, to try to reconcile with me, to get me on your side.” He gave a sharp laugh. “It won’t work Diamond. You can’t get it back. And I certainly don’t want you back. So you might as well go home.”
“You won’t even give me a chance?”
“You nearly killed my father!” he shouted. “You drove him to drink and he nearly killed himself--but that’s what you wanted, wasn’t it? I heard you tell your lover that you hoped he died!”
“It’s hardly my fault your father is a drunkard,” Diamond snapped. “I didn’t make him drink! He chose to do it.” She sneered at him. “I don’t know why you defend him. He wasn’t much of a father to you, was he?”
“He always claimed to love you so much, but then he’d send you away to Meriadoc or those Gamgees. Maybe I’m not the only one who saw someone they hated in their child. At least I can admit it.”
Her words stabbed at his heart, words that echoed fears that he’d always kept hidden. “Get out.” Fari fought as hard as he could against the tears. He didn’t want her to see him cry. “You have no power over Dad or me, and you never will.”
She smirked at him and leaned forward, elbows on the desk. “I hear you’re betrothed.”
Fari stared at her a moment, trying to figure out why she’d bring up his betrothal. “That’s no concern of yours.”
“I would offer my congratulations,” she said, “but I just don’t think it’s right. Your father made a very poor decision, agreeing to it. You could certainly make a much better match than Goldilocks Gamgee.” She wrinkled her nose, like saying Goldi’s name gave her a bad taste. “I have a second cousin with a daughter your age. Violet. She’s a lovely girl, much more fitting for your position.”
“Get out!” Fari pointed at the door. He’d had enough of her. “Leave and don’t come back. I don’t want anything to do with you ever again. I want you to stay away from me and my family. My wife is of no concern of yours.”
“Your future wife is very much a concern of mine, Faramir.”
“Why? You’re not my mother anymore!”
“Are you so sure about that, Faramir?”
Fari jumped when the study door flew open. His father and Ivy came in, followed by Diamond’s servants. His father’s face was flushed with anger.
“What do you want, Diamond?”
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.