50. Chapter 50
“What do you want, Diamond?”
Fari’s father stalked over to the desk, glaring at his forme wife. There were few times in his life when Fari had seen his father this angry.
Diamond calmly sat back, folding her hands together. “I came to discuss my son.”
“He’s not your son anymore,” his father said. “You signed the papers--”
“Yes,” Diamond said. “Our little bargain.” She nodded towards her servants and one of them pulled a pack of papers from his jacket. She took the papers and started leafing through them. “However, I recently learned some very interesting things. The most important of which is that your statement about my... indiscretions... was a lie. Because rather than being a wronged husband, you were, in fact, rutting with your sixteen-year-old cousin.” She looked up at him, smirking. “That’s why Meriadoc wasn’t speaking to you, wasn’t it, Peregrin? He found out you what you were doing to his precious little girl.” She chuckled. “I would have loved to have seen that confrontation!”
Pippin took a step towards her, opening his mouth to say something, but Diamond held up her hand. “Don’t bother denying it.” She held up the packet of papers. “I’ve got witnesses. It appears that after a few years, there are some who forget to keep their mouths shut about things.” She turned to Fari. “Isn’t that right, Faramir?”
Faramir scowled at her, confused.
“Let me remind you,” she said. She pulled out a page to read. “It seems Alma and Liana Hardbottle, sisters, on the 6th of March, 1462, at the Green Dragon, overheard Faramir Took telling Goldilocks Gamgee that his father bedding Ivy Brandybuck on the night of his cousin Columbine’s wedding had saved his father’s life.” Diamond looked up at them. “How sweet,” she sneered. “And it seems the Hardbottle ladies just couldn’t keep that to themselves and the gossip made its rounds, all the way up to Long Cleeve. And then one day I heard the most interesting thing from my maid. It wasn’t hard to trace it back to the source.” She put the paper down. “Which makes your complaint of adultery void, Peregrin, as well as our--” She glanced at Fari. “--bargain.”
Fari collapsed into the nearest chair. How could he have been so stupid?
“Who’s going to believe that?” his father said, but Fari could hear the worry in his voice.
She held up the papers again. “The Shirriff, apparently. I’ve already been to see Mr. Burrows. Friend of yours, I’m assuming? He tried to delay things. Wanted to send for you. But I pointed out the laws in the book and he really had no choice in the matter.” She flapped the papers at him. “He’s already agreed to void our agreement, along with Fari’s adoption by your wife.”
“You miserable old cow!” Ivy rushed at Diamond, screwing up her fist, which Fari’s father caught just in time. He pulled Ivy back into his arms, whispering in her ear.
Diamond gave them a smug smile and stood up. She tossed the papers on the desk. “I’ll expect you in Michel Delving next week--the date and time is on the papers--to settle this.” She smiled. “Oh, yes, and bring your gardner friend. We have a small matter of a betrothal to break.”
Fari looked up in shock.
“What?” His father let go of Ivy and turned on Diamond. “Fari’s betrothal has nothing to do with us!”
“It has everything to do with me! I want my son to have a proper marriage to a girl from a respectable family!”
“You can’t break it, Diamond.” He picked up the papers. “Even if you did do all this! Only the father’s permission is needed.”
“And I’m nearly of age,” Fari said, finally finding his voice. “It doesn’t matter if you find some way to break it. We can still get married after we’re of age, because we won’t need anyone’s permission.”
“Yes, that is an idea isn’t it?” She gave that sickly sweet smile again. “You know, there are a lot of hobbits who aren’t so happy about mixing the classes. I hear the other Gamgee girl had quite a difficult time when she became betrothed to Meriadoc’s son. It would be a shame if dear Goldilocks had to go through the same thing. And Samwise and his son, they work for quite a few hobbits who might be persuaded to look elsewhere for gardeners. Especially if it were well-connected and powerful members of society who were doing the persuading.”
“You wouldn’t dare...”
“Oh, but I would, Peregrin. Gamgee did the paperwork for the divorce. And some might be interested in why it is that their mayor would help the Thain lie about his indiscretions with a young lass to get a divorce. He was just re-elected, wasn’t he? But that can be easily changed. It would be tragic if your beloved Gamgees had to find some other way to feed all those children.”
The room exploded. His Dad, Ivy and Diamond were all yelling. Fari started to panic, his heart pounding, his breath short, tears blurring his vision. She would do all this, because of her irrational hatred for his father? She wanted to take Goldi away from him, make him marry that other girl, a girl she’d have control over? And his life would be misery, just like his father’s had been. He couldn’t lose Goldi. He couldn’t live without her.
“No!” He sprang up from his chair and went to the fireplace. He grabbed his father’s sword from over the mantle. “You won’t do this to us,” he muttered. He started at Diamond, seeing red. She didn’t even see him coming, her back was to him and she was intent on yelling at Ivy. Fari started to raise the sword, but then the room spun and he was lying on the floor behind a couch. There was a weight holding him down and he fought against it and against the hold on his wrists. He fought with everything he had to keep that sword in his hand, until his wrist was bashed into the leg of a chair and the sword flew from his grip. The pain cleared his head, made him focus again, and he found himself looking up into his father’s tearful face.
“No, Fari, it’s not worth it,” his father whispered. “If it was, I would have done it a long time ago.”
Fari closed his eyes and shook his head. It was worth anything to be rid of her.
“Look at me, Faramir!” He looked up at his father again. “Think of Goldi. Don’t do this to her. If you harm Diamond, they’ll banish you.”
Fari broke down then, barely aware of his father’s hand stroking his cheek. He just wanted it to stop. He wanted Diamond to go away forever and let them be happy.
“Leave!” Ivy shouted.
“Don’t tell me what to do, girl!” Diamond shouted back. “We’re not finished yet!”
“Oh, I think we are--”
“What’s going on?”
Fari turned his head when Bori’s deep voice boomed into the study. He blinked to clear the tears from his eyes. Bori and Ari were standing in the doorway.
Ari came over to them and knelt next to their father. “What’s happening, Dad?” he whispered.
“Diamond. She’s done some things...” His father slumped back against the couch, looking dazed.
“Fari?” Ari was leaning over him. “Can you sit up?”
Fari nodded and Ari helped him up. He suddenly felt very tired. He looked over at the doorway, where Bori was glaring at Diamond’s servants. All 5’1” of Bori was filling the doorway and the two hobbits were looking a little nervous.
Ari pulled him to his feet and sat him on a couch. Then he helped their Dad up onto the opposite couch. Ivy came over to sit next his father, embracing him.
Ari gave Diamond an appraising look. “This is Diamond, Bori. What do you think of that?” He got that wild grin on his face, the one that reminded Fari of Éomer King.
Bori scratched his beard. “Diamond, eh? I think I remember you.” He leaned against the doorframe, casually crossing his arms. “Mouthy little cow, confronted Mum at the market once, right?”
“Who are you calling a...” The servant who dared to defend Diamond shrank back when Bori stood up straight again.
“My mother asked you to leave,” Ari said. “So why are you still here?” He reached down for the fallen sword, tossing it with a flick of the wrist as he stood upright. It twirled above his head, flashing in the light, and landed neatly in his outstretched hand, pointed directly at Diamond.
“How dare you point that at me?” she seethed, although her menacing stance was diminished by the fact she had to crane her neck up to look Ari in the eye--he was at least two inches taller than Bori now. “You try to harm me and I’ll have you banished!”
“Really?” Ari grinned. “Hear that, Bori? If we harm her, we’ll get banished!”
“I’ll keep it in mind,” Bori said. He winked at Diamond. She quickly backed up to stand with her servants.
“You half-breed monstrosities stay away from me!” she yelled.
Bori stepped towards her.
“Boromir!” Bori stopped at his father’s shout.
“I’ll see you in Michel Delving next week, Peregrin!” Diamond snapped. She led her companions quickly past Bori and out of the hall. They heard the front doors slam.
“Someone want to explain all that?” Ari asked. He put the sword back on its pegs over the mantle.
“What do you think you were you doing?” Ivy yelled, turning on her sons.
“Well, it seemed like a good time to interrupt,” Bori said, “because you looked like you were getting ready to punch her a good one, Mum.” He grinned at his mother.
“I wasn’t...” She scowled at them. “How could you threaten her like that? Do you know what she could do to you?”
“Yes, Mum, we know,” Ari said. “That was a distraction tactic. We needed to get her focused on us rather than on Fari and Dad. If all went well, she’ll remember our threats and not what Fari was doing. Luckily, those two hobbits were already busy eyeing us up when Fari, erm...lost it.”
“She really could have you banished, Aragorn,” their father said wearily.
Ari shrugged. “As long as it distracts her from what Fari did.”
“Hey, quiet!” Bori said.
Fari thought their voices were sounding a bit far away, like they’d moved to another room. He shivered, suddenly freezing cold, which didn’t make any sense considering it was August.
Something brushed his legs and he realized Bori was kneeling in front of him. “Hey, Fari,” he said. Bori looked into his eyes and Fari smiled at him. He was reminded of how Eomer had taken care of Theo, when Theo was sad about Rose. “How are you doing, big brother?”
Fari shrugged. “Cold,” he said. He rubbed his hands, trying to get warm, and pressed a painful spot on his wrist. He looked down at the ugly bruise forming there and suddenly it all came back to him. He looked up into Bori’s eyes. “I...I grabbed the sword. I tried to...” He shivered. He’d wanted to kill Diamond.
“I know, Fari. We saw the whole thing.”
His father knelt next to Bori. “Faramir?” He touched Fari’s cheek, and looked into his eyes, then turned away. “Ivy, go make some tea--the calming stuff. Ari, bring that blanket over here.”
“What’s wrong?” Ivy was next to him, too. She looked worried.
“Shock,” his father said.
Ivy turned and rushed out. Fari felt something on his shoulders and realized it was Ari putting a blanket around him. Ari sat down and kept an arm around him, which Fari was glad of because Ari was warm.
“I saw it quite a bit during the battles” his dad said. He took Fari’s hands and started rubing htem. “Went through it myself once.” Fari flinched when his dad’s fingers pressed on a sore spot. His dad looked down at his wrist. “Oh, gods, Fari, I’m sorry...”
Fari shook his head, wanting to tell his dad it was all right, that he understood, but Bori beat him to it.
“Dad,” said Bori. “I saw what happened. You had to do it. He was...” Bori paused. “He wasn’t himself.”
Fari shivered again. “What...What are we going to do, Dad?” he asked. “Goldi...” He leaned back, pulling away from Ari. “It’s all my fault. I’m sorry, Dad. I’m sorry. She’s going to hurt you and the Gamgees and it’s all my fault. I’ll have to give up Goldi and marry that other girl--”
“No, Fari! No! You won’t.” His Dad moved up to sit next to him, pulling him into an embrace. “You won’t give up Goldi. It’s me she’s really after, and getting control of the Tooks. I’ll give up being Thain first.”
Fari gasped. “No! You can’t...”
His dad kissed his head. “I’d do anything for you, Fari.”
Fari shook his head. His father would give up everything for him? “Please don’t, Dad. No. Not for me. I don’t want that to be my fault, too.”
“Faramir.” His dad stroked his hair, like when Fari was little and he’d had a nightmare.
Soon Ivy was back with the tea. He couldn’t get his shaking hands to hold the cup, so she held it for him, gently tilting the cup to his lips. The warmth spread through him and he started to feel better. She set the cup down and started to turn away but he grabbed her hand. She sat next to him and pulled him into her arms. Fari wrapped his arms around her. Diamond was going to take his mother away from him, too.
His father left him sitting with Ivy and went to his desk. He pulled out parchment and started writing. Bori and Ari sat on the couch across from him, talking quietly. They both looked awkward on a couch that was a little too small for them, which made Fari chuckle.
“What’s so funny?” asked Bori.
Fari sat up, pulling out of Ivy’s embrace, but he kept a hold on her hand. “My wee baby brothers don’t fit on the couch anymore.”
Bori held up his hand. “Turn around, Mum. I have to do something rude at Fari.”
“So which of your uncles taught you the obscene gesture you’re about to use?” Ivy asked.
Bori dropped his hand and grinned. “They’re innocent on this one. I saw Dad use it on Grandad.”
“Really?” Ivy turned to look at their father, who was coming over to them, papers in hand.
“Which one?” asked his dad. Bori held up both hands, one blocking the view of the other from his mother as he showed their father the gesture. His dad snorted. “Don’t worry, Ivy. I taught you that one when you were six.”
“Pippin!” Ivy glared at her husband, and Fari couldn’t help but laugh along with his brothers.
“All right,” his father said, “I need one of you to take a letter to your Grandad and the other one to take a letter to Sam.”
“I’ll go to Buckland,” Ari said, and took the letter from his father.
Bori took the other letter. “Ha! I get a shorter ride and Aunt Rosie’s pies!” They both stood up to head out.
“And boys,” their dad said. “I don’t want to hear that you’ve gone looking for Diamond. Either stay at Bag End and Brandy Hall or come straight home.”
Bori put on his ‘innocent Took’ face. “Dad! Would we ever--?”
“You’re my sons and Merry’s grandsons. To make matters worse, you come from a long line of hot-headed Rohirrim. I know what you’re thinking about doing.”
Bori looked at Ari and shrugged. “He’s good.”
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.