51. Chapter 51
“This is ridiculous, Pippin.”
Theo had to agree with his father. The fact that Diamond, after all these years, could come back and stake some claim over a nearly-adult Fari was beyond comprehension.
Pippin looked terrible. He was slumped in his desk chair, his eyes dark and tired. Ivy didn’t look much better. She was curled up on a couch, her head resting on Éowyn’s lap. Ari had arrived in Buckland with the news late last night and Theo, his father and Eowyn had left first thing this morning.
“It’s all legal, though,” Pippin said. He slammed his hand on his desk and swept the pile of papers onto the floor.
“I don’t think she’s as much of a threat as you think, Pip,” said Reginard Took. “Sure, there’s some who are pig-headed about class, but most hobbits I know are happy with Fari marrying Goldi.”
“But we can’t be sure, Reg, and I don’t want to take the risks.” Pippin looked over at Sam and Rosie, Goldi nestled between them.
“Even if she did succeed,” said Pippin’s cousin, Ferdibrand, “it’s not like we’d let them starve. They could come to Tuckborough or Buckland--”
“We won’t be leaving our home, Mister Ferdibrand,” Sam said. “No matter what she does. Mister Frodo left Bag End to me.” He sighed. “We’ll manage, whatever happens.”
Pippin shook his head. “No, Sam, I’m not putting you through that.”
Sam frowned at Pippin. “It’s not your decision to make, Pippin.”
“Fine.” Pippin opened a drawer and pulled out some paper. “It’s me she’s after. She’s doing this to get a hold on the Thainship again, to spite me.” He picked up his quill. “I’ll resign, pass it on to Reg--”
“Dad, no!” Fari stood up from his seat next to Theo.
Reg shook his head. “Sorry, Pippin. I won’t accept it.”
“Me neither, Pippin,”
Pippin threw his quill down. “What do you want me to do, then!” He slumped over, head in hands.
“Pip...” Theo’s dad went to stand behind him, his hands on Pippin’s shoulders. “We’ll figure something out.”
“I have to do this, Merry. If Fari no longer has an inheritance, she’ll leave him alone. She won’t be so interested in marrying her cousin to him if he’s a farmer’s son.”
“You hate farming, Pip.”
“I’ll do it if I have to! To protect my family and Sam’s family! We’ll go to my father’s farm--”
Fari shook his head. “Dad! Don’t do this. Don’t let her win!”
Pippin sighed. “Fari, I have to protect you.”
Fari turned and stormed out of the room.
Pippin slammed his fists on the desk. “I hate her! I hate her for doing this to him!”
Theo stood up. “Do you want me to go talk to him?”
“I’ll go,” Goldi said. She glanced at her father. Sam nodded and she ran out after Fari.
Fari pulled out his pack and started stuffing clothes in it. Maybe his father would do anything to protect him, but Fari would also do anything to protect his father. He’d leave, give up his claim as heir. Bori was going to be furious with him, but he didn’t see any other choice. Without him to use against his father, Diamond no longer had a hold over Peregrin Took.
He jumped when his door opened. It was Goldi. “What are you doing?”
He stuffed a shirt into the pack. “I’m leaving. Diamond can’t hurt Dad if I’m not here.”
She came over and grabbed his arm. “You’re going to leave me anyway?”
“Actually,” he stopped stuffing and turned to her. “I was hoping you’d come with me.”
She gasped. “Fari...”
“We can go to Bree, get married there.” He smiled at her. “Once we’re married, there’s not much anyone can do about it. We can stay there. Maybe Moira’s dad will hire me at the mill.”
“But we’re not old enough to marry without permission!”
“They don’t know that in Bree.” Fari smiled and touched her cheek. “Will you come with me?”
She looked at him for a moment, chewing her lip. Then she nodded.
Fari leaned over and kissed her. “We’ll leave tonight, after everyone has gone to bed. Hopefully, they’ll think we’re sleeping late and we won’t be noticed until second breakfast. Maybe not even until elevensies.”
“All right, Fari,” she said. She embraced him, holding him tight. “Are you all right?”
Fari sighed and rested his head on her shoulder. He wasn’t all right. He’d had nightmares last night, the same ones he’d had as a child. But he didn’t want to think about them right now. And he didn’t want to worry Goldi. “I’m fine,” he said. “Just tired.”
She pulled back to look at him. “We’re getting married tomorrow!” she said, grinning, and hugged him again.
He chuckled into her hair. “I know, love.”
Fari led the ponies out of the stable, thankful that they decided to be cooperative tonight. He walked them over the grass rather than the cobblestone path, to keep quiet, and down to the road where Goldi was waiting with their packs, bedrolls and saddlebags of food.
“Ready?” he asked.
She looked back at the Smials, a little teary, probably thinking about her parents. She had been looking forward to a big wedding with a party. Then she turned back to him. “I’m ready.”
They mounted the ponies and headed east.
Theo came to second breakfast more rested than he’d been in weeks. He’d never, ever, tell Rose, but he rather enjoyed having a full night’s sleep without being woken by Arwen every couple hours. It was even worth missing breakfast for.
Everyone was at the table except Fari and Goldi. “Fari and Goldi aren’t up yet?” he asked as he sat down at the table between his dad and Pippin.
“Haven’t seen them,” his dad said. “They’re probably wore out from all the stress they’re going through.”
“Or other things,” smirked Theo, so intent on filling his plate that he forgot he wasn’t sitting with Eomer, until he got a smack on the ears from both his Dad and Pippin. Across the table, Sam was glaring at him.
“Sorry,” he mumbled, focusing on his bacon. He made a mental note to not make rude comments about his cousin’s betrothed in front of her father, when her father was also his father-in-law.
“I’m done,” said Willow. “I can go wake them up.”
Theo coughed. If Fari and Goldi were doing anything, he didn’t want his niece to get that much of an education just yet.
“I’ll go, Wills,” he said pushing away from the table. “I brought it up.” He hurried from the room and down the hallway. He’d kill Fari if they were doing anything.
He put his ear to Fari’s door, didn’t hear any tell-tale sounds and knocked. No answer. He opened the door and peeked in. The room was empty. He went down to Goldi’s room and did the same. Her room was empty as well. He got a very bad feeling about this.
He went back to Fari’s room and instantly checked the wardrobe for his pack. It was gone. He cursed under his breath as he looked around the room, spotting the paper on Fari’s bed. He picked it up, read it, and hurried back down the hall, muttering every curse he knew--Hobbit, Dwarvish, Elvish and Rohirric.
“We’ve got a problem,” he said as he entered the dining room. He handed the paper to Pippin.
Pippin read it over and his face went white.
“What is it?” Ivy asked.
“They’re gone,” Pippin said and the table exploded in conversation. Sam grabbed the paper from Pippin’s hand to read it.
“Quiet!” Pippin yelled. Everyone went quiet.
“What’s it say?” Theo’s dad asked.
“He and Goldi left. Fari’s giving up his inheritance, to protect me.” Pippin slumped back in his chair.
“What?” Bori dropped his fork with a clatter. “He can’t do that! I don’t want to be Thain!”
“Well I don’t want to be Thain, either,” Ari retorted.
“I’ll be Thain!” Gimli said.
“You can’t be Thain, idiot. I’m older than you!” Legolas chided.
“Only by a few minutes.”
“Shut up!” Eoleof yelled. “Fari’s going to be Thain!”
Legolas turned to her. “But--”
“Children!” Ivy shouted, glaring at them. They all instantly quieted. Even Bori and Ari shrank under their mother’s stern look.
“You up for another adventure, Sam?” asked Pippin. He pushed back from the table.
Sam nodded, his expression stormy. Theo felt very sorry for Fari, when Sam caught up with him.
“I’m going, too”, said Merry. “You can’t leave me behind.”
“I’ll go,” said Theo, but his dad shook his head.
“No, Theo. I don’t think Rose would be too happy if you left the Shire right now.”
Theo nodded. He certainly couldn’t argue with that.
“We’re going, too,” said Bori. He and Ari both stood up.
“No,” said Pippin. “You boys stay here. It’s liable to get a bit ugly here while we’re gone, and your mum might need your help. Just...don’t do anything to get banished, all right?”
“Right, Dad,” Bori said. He and Ari grinned at each other. Theo was glad he was going to be safely back in Buckland.
Pippin stood up. “I’ll go talk to Reg, then we need to get going. They’ve already got some hours on us.”
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.