Author: Athea (
Fandom: Lord of the Rings
Title: Beneath it all, part 11
Pairing: Merry/Pippin
Summary: A different kind of council is held.
Date: 20 March 2002

Something was going on but I wasn't sure what. It had to do with Legolas and Gimli but also Frodo and Sam. Our two hobbit friends had a tendency to stop talking and just look at each other for long moments before these really big smiles would appear and they'd hug each other. Legolas was sick every morning and Frodo had stopped smoking completely.

He couldn't even stand the smell of tobacco so that meant that Pippin and I couldn't smoke around him either. His choice of food was strange, too. Broth and bread with a little fruit was all he could eat and Sam wasn't much better. There was no way that they were ever going to get back to pleasingly plump with that kind of diet.

Several times Sam went to tell us something but he'd pause then shake his head. Frodo developed an odd tendency to smile off into the distance with a kind of silly look on his face while he rubbed his stomach. The really odd thing was that Legolas was doing the same thing. And Gimli treated the tall Elf as if he were made of spun crystal and might break.

When we got an invitation to go walking in the great woods with the four of them, Pip and I agreed quickly. With large picnic hampers, we headed into the forest for a little glade that Gimli said he was quite fond of. Legolas laughed out loud and tweaked his beard with the fondest of looks. For all their differences in race and height, they really were beautiful together.

I wondered sometimes why people fell in love with the people they did. It seemed to be a great mystery that was still unexplained no matter who you asked. Looking at the six of us, I would have never believed a year ago that any of us would have been together. We were all so different and yet ...

Friends, that was the answer. We were friends first and lovers second. What ever would the Shire make of us? I worried about that sometimes, but aside from a few raised eyebrows when Pip and I built our own place, we should be all right. Unfortunately I couldn't say the same about Sam and Frodo. They were very much an odd couple. Of course, Legolas and Gimli were in the same boat there.

But I couldn't be anxious today. The sun was shining, the trees gave wonderful shade, our picnic baskets were nicely heavy and we were going to find out what was going on. I knew that in my bones. It just didn't get any better than this. The wars were over and the new job of building anew had everybody making plans. It was an exciting time to be alive and looking towards the future.

"I think I'm homesick for the Shire, Pip. Wouldn't it be nice if we were there right now?" I sighed happily and took his hand in mine.

"Too far away for now, Merry." He smiled at me and swung my hand a little. "I like it here, too."

From the corner of my eye, I saw Sam shoot a quick glance at Frodo. The elder Hobbit nodded and the gardener cleared his throat. "It will be good to visit the family and have a party to celebrate the end of the war and the new king and all."

"Visit?" I caught the odd word and turned to look at them.

"We're thinking of settling elsewhere." Frodo said with a shaky note in his voice that made Sam drop his hand and pull him into a hug instead. "We ... we need to talk to you about that during our picnic."

"Almost there, my friends." Gimli said gruffly and I saw Legolas pat his shoulder.

What ever was going on, it definitely involved all of them. Pip and I exchanged a quick look and in a moment we were setting up our picnic. Legolas and Frodo unfurled the blankets that were all their lovers would let them carry. That was odd, too. Neither of them had ever struck me as unwilling to carry their share of the load. Of course, Frodo had been hurt and he still looked pale to me.

Come to think of it, Legolas had been ill lately, too. I mused over the clues that I'd seen over the last few weeks. Maybe something horrible was happening to them and they were going to need to stay here in Gondor or back in Rivendell? It just wouldn't seem right to go home without them.

"Ahem," Gimli cleared his throat and looked at Pip and me. "We have something to tell the two of you and it's going to be hard to believe but we need you to just listen first and ask questions after we're done."

After we nodded, Legolas took a deep breath and looked at us. "Frodo and I are pregnant. The Varyan cordial had a conception spell interlaced with the herbs that works on Elves and those with Elven blood. It happened the night that Elessar was crowned king. A little less than eight months from now, we'll have our babies. There maybe even be twins."

My jaw had dropped at his first sentence and hadn't come back off the blanket yet. Pregnant? Babies as in more than one each? Then part of what he'd said was high lighted. "Frodo really does have Elven blood then?"

Sam chuckled. "Certain sure and won't Bilbo be excited at the news?"

Pip finally picked up his own jaw. "You're not kidding, are you? You're really going to have a baby? Or two?"

Legolas nodded. "I know it's odd now but Gandalf says that during the First Age, it was quite common."

"What about Gimli being a Dwarf? I didn't think that would work." I wasn't sure if I said it right.

"Gandalf said that we'll need both an Elf and a Dwarf healer when we get closer to delivery time." Gimli was holding Legolas' hand and he raised it to his lips, kissing it softly. "It is my greatest fear that my seed may harm you."

Legolas smiled at him. "Except for making me sick every morning, these babies are behaving very well. I refuse to believe that your blood and seed were anything but good for me. Let others debate that and ... they will. We shall calmly birth our son or daughter with love and raise them together. But not in the Shire, Mirkwood or the Blue Mountains."

"Oh dear, it would be awkward to have Frodo pregnant with everyone looking at him and whispering behind his back." I saw the problems very clearly and so did Sam and Frodo if their solemn nods were any indication. "What can we do to help?"

"Where will you go?" Pip's eyes were damp and he sniffed just a little. "You'll be all alone if you don't live in the Shire."

Sam hugged Frodo close and looked at me. "Well, we were kind of hoping that a few hobbits from the Shire might want to venture out to a place where anybody could live. That means Elves and Dwarves and Men and Hobbits."

"You mean us." I said flatly, trying to hide the rising excitement that bubbled inside of me. "Pip and I may not be accepted as a couple and need a place to go."

Frodo nodded. "You'd probably be all right as a pair of old bachelors. But the Tooks and the Brandybucks have always been adventurous. It would be nice to have uncles for the babies when they come."

Pip looked pleadingly at me. "We could, Merry. It would so much more free to live outside the Shire. We could visit the family whenever we wanted to but not have to watch our tongues or touches."

I laughed out loud and pulled him into my arms. "Dearest Pip, you're the smartest hobbit on this blanket. Sign us up, my friends. I intend to make sure that these babies are well protected."

"And I'll make sure that they know all the best tricks." Pip said brightly while Sam groaned.

We ate our lunch while talking back and forth about the place they'd picked out. It sounded like a beautiful land where there'd be something for everybody. I mentioned that I wanted a nice big bathing room in our hobbit hole and they all agreed with nods. Frodo said he wanted a large library where every kind of book and scroll could be found. Pip voted for kitchens that would serve every taste while Sam excitedly asked for gardens that included plants from every part of Middle-earth.

Gimli smiled at Legolas' wistful request for music before mentioning that he hoped to bring some of his Dwarves into the community to do some carving of the local stone. We talked long into the afternoon before returning to the city and a meeting with the new king. I was glad that I was there when they told Aragorn their news. His surprise was funny, especially when his eyes bugged out and his jaw dropped.

But he was the king and he recovered almost immediately to grant the valley, forest and mountain chain to us. Gandalf was there and he said that he'd be a frequent visitor. We separated then and Pip and I went to have our baths. We knew that it was still secret so we talked about our home and how we'd build it while we were in the baths.

It was time to draw some plans, we decided. But once we got back to our rooms, I closed the door in time to get an armful of Pip. We hadn't kissed in hours and I missed his taste.

"Oh, Merry, this is so exciting." Pip grinned at me. "I love the idea of starting new and fresh. And isn't it strange about Frodo and Legolas? Sometimes I wish that I could have a baby with you. I dreamed about it one night and it was lovely."

"Really?" I held him close. "It's going to hurt both of them to have these babies."

"Oh, I forgot about that." His face wrinkled up in dismay. "Maybe there's a spell or something that will make the pain go away?"

I kissed him again and started undressing him. "Even if there isn't, maybe we should practice making babies anyway."

"Yes!" He crowed and whisked away my clothes.

He really is very good at that. I chased him into bed and we slid together while we rolled on the sheets until we were all hot and bothered. Pip wiggled all over when I brought him up on all fours and oiled his little hole. He loves the stretching part but when I slicked myself and thrust inside, he sighed and pushed back. A wanton Pip is a wondrous Pip and I thanked the Shire for him.

Slowly we made love until he was panting for me to go faster and I was holding him tighter than ever while I thrust hard right at his sweet spot. He cried out and began to come while I shook myself to pieces inside him. His arms gave out and I landed flat on his back, remembering to roll us to one side so I didn't squish him. We were both breathing hard and I hugged him close, tonguing the sweaty skin on his neck.

"Oh, Merry. You feel so good inside of me that I really do wish we could make babies. They're so much fun to play with and teach." He sounded rather plaintive and I smiled at the thought of a round Pip, filled with our child.

"It sounds like there was only that one bottle and it only worked on Elves. We'll just have to be honorary uncles and do the best we can to help Frodo and Sam." I thought about children and had the oddest idea. "Do you think there might be a female Took and a female Brandybuck who are as in love as we are? And do you think that they might like to live in a community where they wouldn't be odd?"

Pip squeaked and craned his head to look at me. That looked quite awkward so I raised up on one elbow so he wouldn't get a crick in his neck. "Merry, do you think there is? Maybe they'd want babies, too. And maybe they'd want Took and Brandybuck babies."

I liked seeing the excited look in his eyes. "We'll go looking and see if we can't find two adventurous hobbits that might want to share babies with us. But not right away. We've got a lot of building to do and we need to be there to make sure that everything gets built right. Dwarves and Elves might not get the proportions exactly right for Hobbits. And when we're all settled in snug as two bugs in a rug, we'll take a good look around."

He smiled so sweetly at me that I just had to kiss him for a long moment. His pretty eyes sparkled when we finally separated. "Yes, I want to just be alone with you for a while. I'm selfish, Merry, really I am. I don't want to share you at all for ever so long a time."

"Then I'm selfish too, my beautiful Pip. I want to go to sleep all wrapped up in you and wake up the same way. I want to sit by the fire after a wonderful meal, smoking a last pipe and thinking about how we'll make love in a while." I slipped from him and he turned to cuddle close.

"I want that, too. We've had such a long, strange adventure that I want to do normal things for a year or two before we start again." He sighed and snuggled his nose into my throat, licking the sweaty skin there and making it tingle. "I'm not really jealous of Sam and Frodo but maybe just a tiny bit envious. We've always had big families in the Shire and it might get lonely out there with just the four of us."

"Maybe six when the babies are born." I reminded him but I was thinking about what family meant, too. "At least they know that the babies will be Hobbits. I wonder what kind of babies Legolas is carrying. Do you think they'll be both Dwarves or both Elves?"

Pip giggled sleepily. "Maybe they'll have one of each. Wouldn't that be fun? I wonder if they'll have inky black hair or pretty golden hair? Be short or tall?" He paused and pulled away a little, his little face going quite serious. "I think Gimli is very worried and trying not to show it. He's afraid that Legolas will be hurt or maybe even die."

I thought back over the afternoon and the conversation we'd had. Gimli had been very quiet, only adding in a remark or two when he had to. He was worried and badly, his dark eyes showing it when ever he looked at Legolas.

"I think you're right, Pip. We'll need to stay close and help where we can. I don't want anything bad to happen to either Legolas or Frodo. Having a baby should be a happy time, not a sad one. We'll make sure that Elrond and the other Elves don't give him a hard time about him loving Legolas." I nodded a little and watched Pip break into a smile.

"I love you so much, Merry." He kissed my chin and went back to snuggling. "We'll just tell them that being in love is wonderful and they have to help."

Chuckling, I hugged him closer and pulled up the sheet. "We'll watch very closely and take care of them the way that they took care of us on our long journey."

"Uh-uh," Pip was falling asleep quickly. "Love you, Merry."

"I love you too, Pip. Go to sleep and dream only happy dreams." I yawned wide and fell asleep so quickly that I didn't have a chance to dream.

The end for now