|Author: Athea (email@example.com)
Fandom: Lord of the Rings
Title: Building the Future, part 4
Summary: They tell their parents the good news.
Date: 8 June 2002
I had to keep pinching myself since I could hardly believe that our parents were here. I kept looking over at my mother while she cooed at little Elanor and wondering how she was going to take the news that she would be a grandmother before the year was out. Happily, I hoped and ventured a glance at Pip's father, Paladin who was watching Frodo nurse little Bilbo with a kind of shocked look on his face.
We were so used to it that I'd forgotten how strange it must seem to them. Pip was not behaving like himself at all. He sat by his mother quietly holding her hand like he had when he was a very little Hobbit. I needed to hug him in the worst way but I was afraid to bring up our news here at the picnic instead of safely back at our home. Luckily, I'd finished the last guest bed the week before so if we borrowed some sheets from Tilly, the Weaver's wife, then we'd be able to sleep the four of them.
The Gaffer and Marigold were going to have to sleep in our old room in Sam and Frodo's house. We had a couple of cots in storage and with a feather bed on top of one Sam's sister could sleep in the nursery. The babies were still in the cradle I'd made for them by their bed since they were still nursing every two hours. Those arrangements would work nicely if only our news didn't upset them completely.
Afternoon passed gently into early dusk and we gathered up our baskets and things for the walk back. I didn't want Pip to carry anything so I made sure that he and both our mothers had a ride back in the wagon. The Gaffer wouldn't ride but insisted on walking with us so Marigold did too. I knew that my mother knew something was up but she just sat back and waited for us to tell her.
She was really good at that. I'd never been able to keep anything from her for very long. I think that was the Took side of her since Pip's father was the same way. He had a habit of raising one eyebrow and pursing his lips when told something that didn't seem to match the circumstances and Mother had almost an identical expression. I'd have to watch Pip to see if he developed it once our son or daughter was born.
That thought always made me smile and today was no exception.
"You're happy, son." My father said cheerfully with his hand on my shoulder.
"I'm the happiest Hobbit in Middle-earth, Dad. Wait until you see our home." I grinned at him. "We've been living there for a couple of months now. I think you'll like it. The spare rooms are furnished finally, although we'll have to borrow some sheets from the Weaver's wife."
"Nonsense, son, we brought a few things with us including sheets and towels and such. Didn't want to put you out." He smiled and included Paladin in our conversation. "Pip's looking pleasingly plump but you could use to add a few pounds. Everyone looks healthy, there must be something in the water that gives everyone good health."
"I think it's more happiness than anything else, Dad." I tried to put into words what I meant and avoid the whole 'plump' issue. "We're working together to build a place where we can grow and create something better than what came before. Our original group were all veterans of the war against Mordor." I thought about that dark time. "We want to build up rather than tear down. Oh, I'm not saying it right."
"No, Merry, your words are exactly right." Paladin said slowly. "I think perhaps I understand some of the changes that I see in you and my son. It's hard to think of my little Pip as a hardened warrior but I saw his prowess back in the Shire during the Troubles."
'Troubles', I thought, that's one way to describe the all out assault on our homeland. "Neither of us is a hardened warrior, Sir. But we'll fight to protect each other and our home." Then I smiled. "We don't have to here, although we did have a scare right before Elanor and Bilbo were born."
They promptly asked for the tale and I told them about Harriman and his obsession with Prince Legolas. They asked questions that lasted all the way back to our house. Dad immediately began to examine the framing and windows, nodding his approval at the little details of construction. Once inside, the smells of good cooking filled the air and I realized that I was hungry again.
My mother came out of the kitchen with a smile on her face. "That Pip can cook like a dream, son. You're very lucky to have him."
I hugged her close. "I know it, Mama. I'm the luckiest hobbit in the whole world."
Eglantine had followed her out. "Are we all going to fit around your dining room table? Pip is cooking enough for twenty."
Oh, oh, I thought quickly. Pip tended to cook a lot when he was upset. "Why don't you all look around while I help him? We're going to need the chairs from all our rooms to seat everybody."
Smiling brightly, I stepped into the kitchen to find Pip practicing to be a whirlwind. Dashing from counter to counter, the stove to the cool box and then to the sink. I caught him in mid-whirl and hugged him tight, murmuring reassurances to him while he vibrated in my arms. "It's going to be all right, my love, my very own Pip. They love us both and they're proud of us and they'll not throw us out of the family just when we're about to give them a grandchild."
"They won't?" The little sniff he gave melted me to the spot.
"No, they won't. Your father is really proud of you. Let me tell you what he said." And I repeated his words and our conversation while I rocked him.
He rubbed his eyes when he stepped back and I used the corner of his shirt to blot his teardrops away. "Maybe just four courses tonight?"
I chuckled. "After all the food we ate today, I can hardly believe we're hungry at all. Are you all right now? I better go in and make sure they found the chairs."
"It's a good thing you made the table so big, Merry." He finally smiled at me and I kissed him quickly before letting him go back to the stove.
Coming out into the living room, I found our mothers finishing setting the table with the hand painted rose china that I remembered from my tween-years. "Mama, they look beautiful. I haven't seen them in years."
She hugged me close and reached up to kiss my cheek. "I found them in the pantry in the old wing and remembered how much you liked them when you were little. Didn't your father tell you that we'd brought some things for your new home?"
"Yes, he did. Thank you, Mama. We didn't have much in the way of china." I hugged her close and she squeaked. I'd forgotten how much stronger I'd gotten. "Sorry, Mama. It's just that I'm so happy you're here. Where did the fathers go?"
"They're in your workroom with a couple of other surprises." She twinkled up at me and I kissed her again before hurrying back to the room where I created our furniture.
They'd brought me the tools I'd used while I was growing up and some new ones that made me want to cry. I picked up each new file and laid it down again softly. Brand new and graded from extra-fine to rough, they fit my hands perfectly. I hugged Dad and then hugged Paladin for good measure. He was kind of stiff at first but then he patted my shoulder and returned the hug.
"Thank you, both of you. These are wonderful." I had a big lump in my throat and it was kind of hard to speak. But Pip was calling us to dinner and I led them out to the alcove in the living room where we'd put the big table. All six of us fit even though the chairs didn't match at all.
Dinner was delicious and Pip was glowing with all the praise we heaped on him. But he deserved it because he was getting to be as good as Jallico. We devoured the leg of lamb, mint sauce and new potatoes after his cabbage vinaigrette. He'd baked fresh lemon tarts earlier and we'd forgotten to take them with us to the community picnic so we polished them off for dessert.
Everybody sat back with a sigh of repletion and our mothers made the fathers do the washing up. It looked very odd indeed to see Paladin with an apron around his waist and his hands in soapy water. Mama shooed us back into the front room and we cuddled in one of the wing chairs while we got up the courage to tell them about the baby.
It was hardly long enough before they sank onto the settee and the other wing chair. Paladin and Eglantine took the love seat while my parents squeezed happily into the roomy chair that was a match for ours. Before I could start to speak, Mama spoke up.
"Now would be a good time for you to tell us why you have that lovely little nursery next to your room, my darlings."
I gulped hard and squeezed Pip's sweaty hand. "Pip is going to have a baby in about four months."
The silence was deafening then Eglantine got up and came over to us, holding out her arms to hug her son. "My baby, my sweet Pip, how very brave you are."
"Mama," Pip burst into tears. "You're ... you're not disappointed in me?"
"Never, my little one, I could never be disappointed in you. You're sweet and brave and such a marvelous son that I'm very, very proud of you."
"Was it another potion?" Paladin asked gruffly and I thought I saw tears in his eyes.
So we told them about the trip into the mountain and the crystals that helped Frodo give birth. Then about what happened afterwards. Mama was crying and so was Eglantine by the time we were done.
"Just how dangerous will giving birth be?" Paladin looked worried and Pip pulled from his mother's arms to go sit by his father.
"Maybe a little dangerous, Father, but Frodo was fine and he had two babies inside of him. I've only got one and Lorrin said that I'll be all right." He reassured him.
Paladin hugged him close and Pip burst into tears again. "There, there, Pip, I'm proud of you, I am indeed. I don't think I'd be so brave, my dear son. To know that you're carrying my grandchild makes me the proudest Hobbit in Middle-earth."
I relaxed muscles that I didn't know were tense and just about melted into a puddle of relief. A quick look at my parents told me that everybody was all right with our news. Eglantine hugged me then she joined her husband and son on the settee while my mother hugged me close.
The next two hours were spent talking about the baby and what we'd need for him or her. Since they didn't have to go through the mountains, they made plans to come back at the end of October so they'd be here for the birth. We talked about what to tell the rest of the family and the Shire. But then we put that talk aside so we could include the Gamgee family and Frodo.
Besides Pip was practically asleep on his feet. All the emotions of the last few hours had exhausted him. We showed them the bathroom and left them to it. I got a basin of hot water for us and bathed a sleepy Pip before tucking him into bed with a soft kiss. He was asleep in an instant and I brushed his hair back gently for a few moments while I thought about the day.
No doubt about it, I was the luckiest, happiest Hobbit in all of Middle-earth.
I said goodnight to Marigold in the nursery and checked on Dad in the guestroom. He was already snoring and I shut the door thankfully. I hurried to the bathroom where Frodo and the babies were getting ready for our bath. Shedding my clothes in a heap on the marble tiles, I took Elanor into the warm water with Frodo right behind me with Bilbo.
The babies loved the water and splashed happily from between our legs. I watched Frodo tickle Bilbo with soapy hands and listened contentedly to our son's squeals of laughter. Elanor chuckled when I took the soap and began to wash her. They had no fear of the water at all and I realized that I was going to have to learn how to swim if I wanted to keep up with my own children.
"Swimming lessons, Sam. You're going to need to help me teach them." My psychic bonded said out loud.
I grinned at him. "Reading my mind again, my Frodo?"
He smiled back at me. "Your face is very expressive, my love. I want them to be as at home in the water as on land."
I thought I might know why he was so adamant about it. He still thought longingly of his parents, lost in that boating accident when he was young. "I promise to let you teach me then I'll help you teach the babies."
"Good," he cuddled Bilbo close and our son spied his nipple, leaking a little milk.
Bilbo latched on and started nursing while Frodo rocked him gently. I loved watching him do that. It reminded me that he'd carried them inside of his body for nine long months. The older they got, the more fun they were and I had the passing thought that I'd like to have a couple more children before too much longer.
"When they're two years old, Sam then I'll ask Lorrin for that Hobbit potion that he's working on." My bonded smiled sweetly at me and I started at his mind reading.
"I know it's too soon, love but they're so much fun." I said sheepishly.
"They are indeed, sweetheart but I need all my energy to keep up with them right now. By the time they're older, I'll be ready to lose sight of my feet again." He chuckled and laid Bilbo on the towel by the side of the tub where he fell almost instantly to sleep. Then I handed him Elanor so she could suckle at his other nipple.
He laid back cuddling her close while I started to wash his feet. He loves that and he relaxed completely while I massaged my way up his legs, lightly over his groin then up his free arm. She'd fallen asleep in mid suck and I took her out of his arms, laying her by Bilbo on the dry towel.
Frodo had the soap now and a gleam in his eye that told me I was going to get teased. I loved how playful he'd grown. He hardly ever had any melancholic moments these days and I liked to think that was because he knew he was loved. He'd done so much good over the last two years that finally he was beginning to accept that he was not a failure.
"Dear Sam, how very lucky we are." He slid soapy fingers over my chest, tweaking my nipples before sliding over my shoulders and drawing me close. He kissed me sweetly and I sucked on his tasty tongue for a long moment while we washed each other's back.
When we finally had to breathe, I stroked his cheek. "I am so lucky that you love me and was willing to bear our children."
He shook his head slowly. "I'm the lucky one, my Sam. I can hardly believe that we're a family now and that your family is all right with us and the babies. I hope that Pip and Merry are as lucky."
"We'll help each other the way we always do, my Frodo." I kissed him fished out the soap to finish bathing him. We'd find out tomorrow how our friends were. I could hardly wait to get my bonded to bed so we could celebrate our bonding day. It had been the best anniversary I'd ever had. And we would have many, many more.