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Just to be With You  by Pervinca

Just to be With You


16: Brandybuck Weddings

The grand ballroom of Brandy Hall was filled to the brims with Brandybucks, Tooks, Bolgers and various other families that were either relatives or close friends of Merry and Estella. At the very front of the room, to the side of the dance floor, there was a raised platform, sided by two large vases overflowing with flowers.

It was to this dais that Thain Paladin Took made his way to. Behind him followed Peridot and Petunia Burrows escorting Odovacar Bolger and Esmeralda Brandybuck. The two young girls beamed with pride, as the entire communion murmured words of adoration for them. But when the last four hobbits entered, a hush went through the room.

Peregrin, dressed in his black and sable livery of the city of Gondor led Estella, in her beautiful green gown. Next to them, Meriadoc was glad in the white and green of the Mark, and Diamond, dressed in a pale blue gown to match Estella’s, escorted him. They stopped before Paladin on the dais.

Paladin winked at his nephew, before speaking in a loud voice. “Welcome, dear friends. We come here today to celebrate the union of two families, and the marriage of two hobbits. As Thain of the Shire, it is my hour to do this.” He held his hands out, palm up, and smiled at his sister. “Esmeralda Brandybuck, do you give your blessing to your son, Meriadoc, to begin his own life and family, while remembering those who brought him into this life?”

With tears streaming down her cheeks, Esmeralda managed to level her voice. “That I do.” She took Merry’s right hand and placed it on Paladin’s left. “Meriadoc, you are my most precious son, and though it pains me to have to let you go, I can think of none better than she who you have chosen. You have my blessing to begin this new life of your own, with your new wife, and any children you may have.”

With a nod from Paladin, Esmeralda stepped down, to be embraced by Saradoc. Paladin turned to Odo. “Odovacar Bolger do you give your blessing to your daughter, Estella, to begin her own life and family, while remembering those who brought her into this life?”

Odo held Estella’s left hand and set it upon Paladin’s right. “Estella, I have given you my blessings for everything you have done in your life, and nothing has made me more proud than seeing you stand here today, looking so beautiful. Though I would love to have you remain my sweet baby daughter for all time, I know that it cannot be. Instead, I will bless you in your marriage and new life with he who you have chosen.” Odo also stepped down to stand with Rosamunda and Fredegar.

“Peregrin Took and Diamond Took,” Paladin addressed his son and Estella’s witness. “You have been chosen by the betrothed as their closest friends, and appointed as witnesses to their union. Do you promise to stand by and support them in their marriage?”

Together, Peregrin and Diamond nodded. “We do.”

Paladin nodded once more, and finally smiled at his nephew and Estella. “And now, Meriadoc and Estella, will you speak your vows?”

The couple turned to face each other. Merry looked deep into Estella’s eyes. “Estella Bolger, too long did I wait to ask for your hand in marriage. I have loved you since our first meeting, and yet I delayed in my proposal. For that mistake I have paid dearly. I regret making you wait, but I do not regret my reasons for doing so. It is an honour that I am unworthy of for you to now agree to be my wife, and I promise that I will never make such a mistake again. I will love and stay with you from this day forth. This I swear upon my honour as knight of Rohan, and as future Master of Buckland.” He bowed.

Estella was almost speechless. How could her own vows compete with that? Finally, she took a deep breath. “I have no great titles to swear upon, and though you think yourself unworthy, I know that it is I who is undeserving of you. But I have loved you, Meriadoc, since the day I first saw you, and I will love you until I take my final breath.”

There was a moment of complete silence, and Estella was amazed to see the Merry’s eyes had filled with tears. Had she turned to look at the guests, she would not have seen a single pair of dry eyes in the entire ceremony.

Thain Paladin cleared his throat. “Well, I doubt that anyone could have any objections after that.” He paused for a moment just in case, but the ballroom was silent. “In that case, it is my honour to pronounce you husband and wife. You have my blessings as the Thain, and my love as an uncle. Congratulations.” He placed their hands together.

Merry needed no more encouragement. He pulled Estella close to him and kissed her more fiercely than he ever had before. Estella melted into his arms, but she was dimly aware of a sound around them. It took her a moment to realise that it was entire communion cheering. As they broke apart, Estella blushed and smiled at the guests.

Paladin held up his hands to silence the ballroom. “And now, to bless the union, the appointed witnesses shall join our new couple in the first dance.”

Merry, still holding Estella’s hand, led her onto the dance floor. Odo and Esmeralda followed them. Finally, Pippin offered his arm to Diamond and led her out also.

Diamond giggled a little as they danced. When Pippin raised an eyebrow, she explained. “I cannot remember the last time I danced with a lad – other than one of my brothers – and did not have to look down at him!”

Peregrin joined in her laughter. “I must admit, the last lass I danced with probably had to stare at my chest throughout the entire dance.”

“Are you saying that would have been a bad experience for her?” Diamond joked.

“Not at all, but I would say that you have a more attractive view.” Peregrin managed to withhold from saying, “And so do I.”

Merry and Estella were not so suited to each other when it came to height, but neither of them cared. They could still stare into each other’s eyes.

“I love you, Estella Brandybuck,” Merry murmured.

She smiled. “Estella Brandybuck…I like the sound of that.”

“Well, you should get used to everyone calling you that.” He kissed her again, as the first dance ended.

“Stella!” Pervinca called, as she and Everard stepped onto the dance floor. “Don’t forget that you have to throw your posy! We all want to see who the next lucky lass will be!”

Estella had to laugh. All of the unmarried female guests had gathered together, and amongst them Estella could see Diamond, Celandine Brandybuck, Tulip Chubb and Melilot’s sister Mentha. She stepped away from Merry and made her way over to them.

“Over here, Stella!” Celandine squealed.

Estella turned her back to them, and tossed the posy over her shoulder. She spun back around to watch the tussle that was going on over it. Diamond was not really making much of an effort, and Estella guessed that one of Pippin’s sisters had told her to partake. Finally, the triumphant lass held the posy in the air. It was Celandine.

“Me? Oh, how wonderful!” she cried, holding the posy to her breast. She very obviously smiled at Peregrin, and he blushed a deep shade of crimson.

Estella returned to Merry’s side. He grinned. “Did you see the look on Pippin’s face when Celandine caught the posy?”

“I did,” she replied. “Are you going to change your mind about the two of them marrying?”


Estella smiled back at him. “Neither am I. I also saw the look on his face when he was dancing with Diamond.”

Merry wrapped his arms around her. “So, tell me, what is the first thing you want to do now that you are Mrs. Meriadoc Brandybuck?” When she raised both of her eyebrows at him, he laughed. “Fine, I shall rephrase my question: what is the second thing you want to do now that you are Mrs. Meriadoc Brandybuck?”

Estella thought for a moment. “I want to see the lands you have told me about.”

“You what?”

“Rohan, Gondor, all those wonderful places you visited on your journey. And I want to meet the friends that you made.”

Merry was shocked by what she had requested, but he was glad to hear it. In his heart, he had hoped she would one day agree to travel with him to Rohan and Ithilien to meet Éomer and Éowyn, to see the wonder that was Minas Tirith. He had never actually believed that she would want to so soon.

“That sounds like a fabulous idea. But I don’t know if Pippin would be to pleased about me going to Gondor without him.” Merry glanced over to where his cousin was dancing with Celandine, still grasping the posy.

“He can come with us! I always wanted him to.” Estella followed his line of sight. “Though it would be interesting to see what would happen if we left him here with Celandine and Diamond.”

“Pippin should definitely come with us, then. I don’t like the way your twisted mind works sometimes, my sweet.”

Estella laid her head on Merry’s chest. “When should we tell him?”

“When do you want to leave?”

She laughed. “Well, perhaps not just yet, but within the next month.”

“And how long do you wish to be away.”

“Well, I don’t know.” Estella shrugged. “A year? Would that be long enough to see everything?”

Merry kissed her forehead. “A year would be perfect. We could spend some time in Rohan – I wonder if Éomer ended up marrying Lothíriel. And then onto Gondor – just wait until you meet Strider! Finest Man you’ll ever meet. And of course, there’s Éowyn and Faramir in Ithilien…perhaps a year won’t be enough after all.”

It took Estella a moment to realise that he was jesting, and she slapped his hand. “A year will have to do, Meriadoc. I would say that would be all our families would be willing to give.” She smirked. “And now, Mister Brandybuck, I think there’s been enough talk of the second thing I want to do.”

“Why, Mrs. Brandybuck, I have no idea what you mean!” He returned the smirk. “Do you suppose anyone will notice if we leave?”

“They didn’t when we left your birthday party, not for a good while anyway. And this time, they will be expecting us to leave.”

“Hmm, it’s a good thing that Pip is staying in my room at Brandy Hall.”

Estella laughed, as she dragged him out of the ballroom. It was a decent walk to Crickhollow, and she wanted to start their life as a married couple as soon as she could.

* * * * * *

Around an hour later, Pippin made his way over to where  Pervinca, Everard, Sam and Rosie were sitting. “Have you seen Merry anywhere?”

The four of them exchanged a knowing look, before Pervinca replied, “Pippin, where do you think he may have gone?”

He looked confused for a moment, and then it dawned on him. “Oh.” He sat with his sister and her husband. “Perhaps I should get married one day soon.”

Everard laughed. “You’ve not come of age yet, Pippin!”

“Well, I suppose you’re right there. And I’ll want to go back to Gondor before I have to settle down. Wonder if Merry will want to come too.”

“He’s just married!” Pervinca cried. “I don’t think Stella will let him go away.” She squeezed Everard’s hand. “I know I wouldn’t let Ev go anywhere without me.”

“I never said he had to go without her,” Pippin argued. “I have no problem with her coming along. In fact, I have no problems with anyone else coming along either.” He specifically looked at Sam as he said it.

“I’ll keep it in mind Mister Pippin,” Sam replied, “but I think that my place is here.”

The End

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