64. Chapter 64
Fari jerked awake, gasping, his skin clammy in the warm summer air. He felt Goldi stir next to him.
“Did you have the dream again?” she whispered, reaching out to stroke his sweaty hair.
He nodded, clenching his jaw and squeezing his eyes shut. He’d started having nightmares again, not long after Perry was born. But they were different than before. His father was in this one, too, but it wasn’t about him dying. This time, he dreamed that Diamond had followed through on her threats and had taken him away from his dad.
He clenched his fists. He was of age, now, so she couldn’t do anything to him. But now he was afraid she’d try to make some sort of claim on Perry. That she’d demand to see him, as his grandmother, just to get back at them.
He rolled over into Goldi’s embrace. “Sorry I woke you,” he said, but really he was glad she was awake to hold him. She was always awake and there for him when he awoke from one of his dreams. He had worried he was kicking her or something, but she claimed it was her new mother instincts that woke her up.
She kissed his brow. “Don’t worry. Your son will be waking me soon anyway.”
Fari smiled, the anxiety of the dream easing. Goldi always called him “your son” when Perry woke her in the middle of the night, or had an especially messy diaper...
The sound of a hungry baby came from the little cradle next to the bed. “See?” Goldi said. She gave Fari another kiss, then got up to get their son.
Fari rearranged her pillows for her, so she could sit up in bed to nurse. She settled in, cradling a squirming Perry in one arm as she opened the buttons on the front of her nightdress.
Fari sat up next to her and rested his cheek on her shoulder. He watched his son suck greedily at his mum’s breast and held his finger out for one of the tiny hands to grasp onto. Fari ran his thumb over the delicate skin of Perry’s hand. Having Perry now, Fari understood his father, why his father loved him so much even though he was Diamond’s child, even after all the awful things Fari had said to him. Fari knew he’d do anything to protect his son. He was determined that Perry would have the happy childhood he wasn’t able to have. And he vowed that he’d do everything in his power to make sure Perry never had to lay eyes on Diamond.
“I have to deal with this,” he said. “The dreams...”
“You should tell your dad, Fari. Tell him what you’re afraid of.”
“No.” Fari shook his head. “This is something I need to do on my own.”
Fari had never been to this part of the Shire before. He’d gotten directions at the inn he had stayed at, in Oatbarton. The hobbits he’d spoken to had looked at him oddly, possibly recognizing who he was, but he managed to get the information he needed. Nobody had asked him any questions. He was thankful for the hobbit custom of “minding your own business”. Although, he was sure he’d be the subject of local gossip for a while.
He rode out on the country lane, following the directions he’d been given. His stomach tightened as he got closer to his destination. Goldi had tried to talk him out of this. She’d pleaded with him, even threatened to tell his father where he was going. But he’d managed to convince her it had to be done. He had to do this, to put everything to rest. To find himself again, after months of being consumed by anger. To rid himself of the fear.
Goldi was the only one who knew where he’d gone. He’d told everyone else he was going to Michel Delving to give Mr. Burrows a long overdue ‘thank you’. He did want to thank Minto Burrows, but today he had another task.
He arrived at the lonely little cottage, it’s garden overgrown and unkempt. Fari had a sudden thought, that Sam or Frodo would work wonders with the small yard, and gave a wry grin at the idea.
He left Anduril tied to the gate at the road and walked up to the cottage. The door was answered by a lass.
“Good day, sir,” she said with a curtsy. “Who may I say is calling?”
“Faramir Took,” he said. The girl stared at him, wide-eyed. She must have heard about him.
“I’m sorry, sir,” she finally said, flustered. “The mistress isn’t able to see you.”
Fari pushed his way in past the girl and went into the parlor. “I think she will.” The girl curtsied nervously and rushed off.
Fari looked around the parlor. There wasn’t much in it. It certainly wasn’t a parlor fit for entertaining guests. Only one chair sat before the fireplace, a worn rug at it’s foot. The walls were bare, with none of the ornament or portraits that were standard in a hobbit’s parlor.
“What do you want?”
Fari turned at Diamond’s voice. She stood in the doorway, glaring at him. She looked terrible, her face lined and sagging, her eyes dull.
“Was it all worth it, to end up here?” he asked, gesturing around the dismal parlor. “But, I suppose you blame my father for this as well.”
“Did you just come here to insult me?” she asked. “I’ve lost everything, even my family. Can’t you be satisfied with that?”
“I suppose if you were any other hobbit, I would pity you,” he said. “But you’re not any other hobbit, are you? I have no pity for you.”
“You came all the way here to tell me that?” She rolled her eyes.
“No. I came here to lay things to rest between us, one last time.” Fari glared at her. “What I came all the way here to tell you is that if you ever come near my family--Tooks, Brandybucks and Gamgees--if you ever come near any of us ever again, if you ever try to harm any of them, you will sorely regret the day I was born.”
He saw a flash of fear in Diamond’s eyes, but she kept her chin up. He saw her eyes glance to the side, into the hall. He guessed her servants were waiting there, in case he tried to harm her. “Are you going to kill me, Faramir? It won’t do to get yourself banished, what with your little wife and all the brats I’m sure you’ll be getting off her. I hear you’ve already got one. And just two months after the wedding?” She shook her head and tut-tutted him. “Even your father managed to wait until he’d married her to start breeding his little cousin. But, I suppose I should have expected it with a Gamgee.” She looked at him smugly, but Fari kept his face neutral. He wouldn’t give her the satisfaction of a reaction. Besides, what she thought about him or Goldi didn’t mean anything. Her words had no power over him anymore. She frowned. “Or maybe you’ll have those monsters you call brothers do it for you? I suppose you’d be glad to be rid of me once and for all.”
He gave a sharp laugh and shook his head. “Kill you? No. That’s too easy.” He walked towards her and she shrank back. He stopped just a few feet away. “I don’t want you dead. In fact, I hope you have a very long life. Because I want you to go through the rest of it knowing that everything you’ve done to harm my family was a failure. Because of you, because of what you did to him, my father turned to Ivy. I want you to wake up every day knowing how happy they are. How much they love each other. I want you to think every day about the joy they take in their children, and their grandchildren, and how much their children love them.” He smirked at her. “Something you will never know.”
She flinched at that. He reached into his coat and pulled out a rolled up parchment. “I made a copy for you,” he said, holding up the roll of paper. “My adoption paper.” He looked around at the empty walls. “Perhaps you can hang it on your wall, to remind yourself that the child you refused to love calls someone else ‘mother’. So you won’t forget that my children are Ivy’s grandchildren.”
She turned her head away from him, but he could still see her face. Her hard mask had dropped and for the first time he saw pain--and perhaps regret--in her eyes. He almost pitied her. Almost. She had done too much, had taken--or nearly taken--too much from him.
Now he had to do what he had come here to do, to put everything to rest. “Know this. If I find out you’ve come anywhere near my children, if you try to do anything to see them or stake some claim on them or harm them...” He suddenly closed the distance between them until he was right in her face, looking down into her terrified eyes. “I may just forget that I don’t want you dead,” he whispered for her ears alone. “Because I will do whatever it takes to protect my children.”
The two hobbits who had accompanied her to the Smials stepped up behind her, glaring at Fari. Fari took a step back, keeping his eyes on Diamond. “Are we agreed on this?”
She nodded, averting her eyes from his gaze.
He tossed the copy of his adoption paper onto the table. “I’ll leave you now, Miss Northtook. And I sincerely hope we never meet again.”
Fari pushed past her, not even looking at her, and left the house. He went quickly down the path through the overgrown yard to his waiting pony. He mounted Anduril and paused for a moment, looking back at the little cottage. He took a deep breath. He felt... lighter, like all the anger and hate and fear that had been weighing him down had been bottled back up, and he’d left that bottle on the table next to his adoption paper in Diamond’s sad little parlor.
He turned Anduril and kicked him into a canter, headed for home.
Fari walked up the path from the stables, towards the Smial’s garden. On the lawn, he saw Goldi had spread out a blanket and she was lying in the sun with Perry, holding up a daisy for him to inspect with his tiny fingers.
Goldi looked up as he approached. “There’s Daddy!” she said to Perry, and leaned over to kiss his pudgy cheek. Fari saw the worry behind the smile on her face.
He knelt down next to them and kissed Goldi. “Love you,” he said. Then he leaned down to place a soft kiss on Perry’s brow and brushed a finger through his son’s cinammon curls. “Love you, too, Perry-lad.” He smiled at his family, feeling as if he would burst with joy at the sight of them.
“How are you?” Goldi asked. She took his hand and squeezed it.
He lifted her hand and kissed her palm, then pressed it to his heart. He smiled at her, a smile that was completely free of worry or anger or fear. “Never been better,” he said.
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.