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Just to be With You  by Pervinca

Just to be With You

13: The Great Year of Plenty

S.R. 1420 

Pippin groaned loudly. His head was throbbing, and it felt as though something had died a rather torturous death in his mouth. “I’ll never drink ale again!”

It took him a moment to realise where he was and how he had come to be there. Pippin was resting, quite uncomfortably, on one of the lounges in Crickhollow’s sitting room. One head was rested on his thigh, and another on his shoulder. From the red curls, he guessed that the head on his lap was Celandine’s, but he could not see who had fallen to sleep on his shoulder.

This was a common way for Pippin to wake up after one of the infamous parties that he and Merry held at Crickhollow. The night before had probably been the biggest yet. It had been to celebrate the recent marriage of Samwise Gamgee and Rose Cotton. The fact that neither Sam, nor Rosie (nor Frodo, for that matter) had been able to attend, hardly mattered to the cousins. Most of the young adult and tween hobbits in Buckland had been invited, along with half of Tookland and a large portion of the West Farthing. Pervinca Took and Everard Took would also be marrying soon, and the party was just as much for them as it was for the absent Sam and Rose.

Pippin gently pushed Celandine and the, as yet, unrecognised lass from their resting places, so he could stand. As he did, he saw that the other was Diamond, Estella’s closest friend. He should have guessed that. Diamond was the only lass tall enough to rest her head on Pippin’s shoulder.

He made his way to the kitchen. He was in dire need of coffee and some form of greasy breakfast food. Bacon and eggs sounded especially appealing.

“Could you make enough for two?” Diamond’s voice asked. Pippin looked up to see her standing in the kitchen doorway, rubbing her eyes and looking as awful as he felt.

“Of course, and good morning.” He grinned. “I certainly hope I did not wake you from your beauty sleep.”

She scowled at him, but a smile played on her lips as she did. “Actually, yes you did. But it could hardly have been avoided. I should learn not to fall asleep on lad’s shoulders!”

“Most lads would be able to rest on your shoulder, wouldn’t they?”

Diamond frowned. She hated it when Peregrin did that. He knew that she was highly self-conscious about her “abnormal” height. He was really the only one who teased her about it, and it was not as if he could talk. Pippin was a good head taller than her. He seemed to realise his mistake, and muttered an apology.

“I certainly hope Estella did not sleep in Merry’s room,” Pippin mused.

“It’s possible she did,” said Diamond. “I did not see her in the sitting room.”

“Perhaps she slept in my room. I know I did not use it.”

“No, I am quite certain that’s where your sister and Master Everard stayed.”

Pippin frowned. Pervinca and Everard would not be married for another two weeks. They should not have been sleeping in the same room!

Diamond was openly amused at Pippin’s reaction. “Peregrin, correct me if I am wrong, but are you not Pervinca’s younger brother? Besides, I have heard the tales of Peregrin Took and his ‘conquests’. I do not think you can say too much against Pervinca and Everard.”

As much as Pippin hated to admit it, Diamond had made a very good point. He huffed: “Well, I hope they didn’t get up to anything that should wait until their wedding night. I may have fooled around, but I was never caught with a lass in my room.” He smirked. “I always made sure she left before anyone noticed.”

Diamond laughed. “I have heard, too, that you were nearly caught out in the library of Brandy Hall with a certain lass.”

Pippin blushed furiously. “Who told you that?”

“Stella, of course. She and Merry almost walked in on you and Celandine.”

Pippin quickly turned his attention back to the breakfast he was cooking. It was soon ready, and he and Diamond gratefully gorged themselves.

“Oh, this is exactly what I needed,” Diamond moaned, taking a second helping of bacon.

“The prefect cure for ale poisoning,” laughed Pippin, forgetting his embarrassment at her earlier comments.

The breakfast was very quickly devoured by the two of them. Sipping on her forth very strong coffee, Diamond asked: “So, when do you suppose Stella and Merry will wed?”

Peregrin shrugged. “Fatty’s still recovering, and Estella’s still looking after him. And if I were one to gamble, I’d bet on Fredegar and Mel being the next married couple.”

Diamond nodded. “Seems to me that all I do now is go to weddings. After Pervinca and Everard, the youngest of my elder brothers is having his.” She sighed. “Think you’ll want to settle down soon?”

Pippin snorted. “I haven’t even come of age yet!”

“I suppose it would be a good idea to do that first,” Diamond giggled.

“But my mother seems to want me to marry sooner.”

“Really?”

“Yes.” Pippin nodded toward the sitting room. “My whole family is sure that I’ll marry Celandine someday. If she were to marry me, it would make up for all those Took lasses marrying Brandybucks.”

“Do you think that you will? Marry Celandine, I mean. You seem very close.”

“Let us just say that I have a love-hate relationship with her. Certainly not a good basis for marriage.” Pippin screwed up his nose. “All this talk of marriage is making me feel closed in.”

“I agree completely, Master Took. No need to think about one’s own wedding until the time has come.”

A groan from the doorway indicated that Merry was awake. He stumbled into the kitchen. “Pip, do me a favour and kill me.”

“After all the trouble Strider went to in order to bring you back? He’d have my head!” Pippin laughed. “Not feeling too well, my dear cousin?”

Merry scowled. “No, I’m not. And it’s making me feel worse seeing you so cheerful. You should be feeling worse!”

“Must be my Took tolerance.”

“Or that delightful breakfast we just ate,” Diamond dobbed him in. “Where’s Stella?”

“Still asleep.” Merry saw the amused look from Diamond and the stern glare from Pippin, and quickly added. “I let her sleep in my bed, and I slept in the chair!”

Pippin looked at him sceptically. “That had better be true, Meriadoc.”

“Oh, you’re one to talk, Master Peregrin!”

“I already brought that point up, Merry,” laughed Diamond, stepping in before the argument became serious. “Pippin, let us hope that Pervinca and Everard adopted the same sleeping arrangement.”

Merry rested his head on the kitchen table. “Pippin, you know that you are my favourite cousin, and…”

“No, Merry,” Pippin interrupted. “Make your own breakfast. And don’t try to use my methods of persuasion against me. I’ll have you know, I invented the blatant flattery method.”

“I’ll make it,” a tired voice offered. Estella entered the kitchen somewhat more gracefully than the three before her. She kissed Merry lightly on the forehead.

“Don’t trouble yourself, Stella,” he said.

“It’s no trouble, Merry. After all, one day I may be running this house.” She winked at Diamond. “So there had better no complaints.”

* * * * * *

Pervinca and Everard’s wedding was held at the Great Smials a fortnight later. Though Hobbiton had become a very popular venue for weddings (due to the beautiful mallorn tree), it was generally agreed that a marriage between two Tooks was best held at the ancient dwelling of the family.

Pippin snorted at that. “It doesn’t matter who I marry, I’m holding my wedding in the Party Field. And if anyone complains, I’ll get married in Gondor instead!”

Frodo, Sam and Rosie came for the wedding. Rose and Pervinca had been close friends for many years, and she would not have missed the wedding for anything. Frodo and Sam wore ordinary fine clothes, though it pleased Merry to see that Sam’s waistcoat had brass buttons, and there was a silk handkerchief in his breast pocket. Merry and Pippin wore the livery of Rohan and Minas Tirith, respectively, as they usually did at special occasions. This occasion was particularly special for Peregrin, as he was to stand witness for Pervinca. Everard had chosen his sister, Yolanda, as his witness, and the two of them made an amusing pair when the time came for them to dance. Yolanda had always been on the shorter side, and she barely made it up to Pippin’s waist.

Estella watched the wedding with tears in her eyes. She did not remember being so emotional at Sam and Rose’s wedding, but then she realised that Pervinca had helped her to express her feelings about Merry. Seeing Pervinca marry Everard was almost like watching herself and Merry.

Almost, but not quite. She glanced at Merry, and saw him smiling proudly. She wondered how he was feeling, and whether he would be ready for their own wedding. But then she looked over to where Fredegar was sitting with Melilot. To Estella, he still seemed painfully thin. No, I can’t marry Merry just yet.

It seemed that Pippin had been quite right in his guess at Crickhollow. When Pervinca threw her posy (it was made up of pervincas, eglantines, pimpernels, roses and a blossom from the mallorn), as was tradition at hobbit weddings, Melilot Brandybuck caught it. She smiled warmly at Fredegar, and he grinned back.

Estella smiled to herself, and wondered if Fredegar didn’t really need her after all.

* * * * * *

A/N: I’m dedicating this chapter to Pippinfan. Without her story, “The Bright Side of Things”, I would have completely forgotten about the parties Merry and Pippin’s “wonderful parties” at Crickhollow. Oh, and I used the word ‘posy’ instead of ‘bouquet’, because bouquet is a French word, and to be honest, I can’t imagine the hobbits speaking French!





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