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AUTHOR'S NOTE: Written for LJ community hobbit_ficathon. A first post-Quest meeting for one of the Travellers and a family member.
SUMMARY: Pippin has a heart to heart talk with one of his aunts…
AUTHOR’S NOTES: In the family trees in Appendix C of The Lord of the Rings, we are shown that Paladin Took had three unnamed older sisters. In my Shire the sisters were Primrose, Peridot and Pearl. Pearl died young, Primrose never wed, and Peridot was the widow of another Took cousin. Primrose and Peridot live at the Great Smials, and are of great assistance to Eglantine.
DISCLAIMER: Middle-earth and all its peoples belong to the Tolkien Estate. I own none of them. Some of them, however, seem to own me.
IN THE SITTING ROOM
Pippin felt fortunate that no one was there in the family sitting room. He’d chosen his time well. Most of the family were in the main dining hall tonight, as it was Highday, and the Thain and his family had dined among the rest of the Tooks this evening. Pippin had excused himself, and though his father had not been entirely happy, they’d not pressed him to join them. He simply wasn’t up to all those eyes, all those cousins, and all that speculation.
He’d been back at the Great Smials for a couple of weeks now; he and his father had come to an understanding, and Paladin was no longer angry, though Pippin was not sure if things would ever be easy between them again. In a few weeks, after Yule, he’d be allowed to move to Crickhollow with Merry. In the meantime, the King’s Proclamation had been read, and soon the whole family would be heading, first to Hobbiton and then to Buckland, to read it again. His mother seemed to accept what she couldn’t understand, and his sisters were beginning to lose the awe they had shown when he returned so grown and grim. But he had not yet come to terms with everyone else in the Smials. The older cousins and relations seemed wary and suspicious, and the younger ones were curious to the point of rudeness. Reggie’s daughters had got wind of the gifts he’d brought his parents and sisters, and had done their best to corner him to find out if he’d made a fortune in foreign parts. Fortunately Pearl had routed them, to his everlasting gratitude.
He realized the room had grown darker. It was an inner room with no windows save a single skylight. He must have been sitting here in the dark for a while. He gave a start as the door opened.
“Auntie Peridot?” Pippin was surprised. He’d not seen either of his aunts save at tea or supper with the family since his return.
She turned and lit the lamp by the sitting room door. “Forever why are you sitting here in the dark, dear?”
“I don’t know. It seemed too much work to get up and light the lamps, I suppose,” he answered gloomily.
She clucked her tongue reprovingly, and moved into the room, lighting the other lamps. She looked at his lanky form sprawled on the settee, and shook her head. In spite of his size--which was taking some getting used to--he looked very young and lost at the moment.
She went over and sat next to him. He shifted to make room for her. He felt awkward. He used to be able to lean his head on her shoulder. Now he was too tall for that; the thought suddenly made unexpected tears spring to his eyes. He didn’t know why he was feeling so lonesome and low this evening. He was home, and they had put things to rights--well, mostly, anyway, and everyone he loved was safe. He’d no right to be feeling this way.
His aunt leaned into his side, and he put his arm around her. She felt so old and frail. He looked at the concern on her face.
“You are missing Merry and Frodo, I daresay,” she said astutely.
He sighed. “Yes, I am. And Sam. And…” his voice trailed off.
“And who else, Peregrin? I have heard you mention some of your friends that you found while you were away.”
Suddenly he realized that was part of his problem tonight. He *was* missing them: dear Strider, Aragorn, his King and healer and friend; and Gandalf--he really missed the gruff voice, so at odds with the fond twinkle in the eyes, his wise and kindly counsel, the comforting smell of pipeweed and fireworks and wool; and Legolas, his Elf, who seemed to understand his need for music; and Gimli, dear Gimli who had saved his life; and Faramir, his Prince; and Beregond and Bergil.
And Boromir, whom he’d never see again. He blinked rapidly, to get rid of the tears that threatened.
“Tell me a bit about them, Pippin, dear. I’d like to hear of some of your friends.”
He looked at her, seeing only the gentle interest of someone who cared, not the greedy, avid curiosity that put his back up. He leaned his head back and closed his eyes for a moment, and then began to tell her of his friends.
He did not speak of the dark perils, or the grim fighting, but described each of them for her, sketching out their personalities with anecdotes both funny and touching. Occasionally some of the more difficult circumstances could not help but slip out, but his aunt carefully avoided gasping or exclaiming when they did. She soon felt she had come to know each of these strange beings who had become so important to her young nephew.
She was not surprised that their absence left a hole in his heart. Pippin was always one who gave his love freely and fiercely and fully, who liked people until they gave him a reason not to, and who inspired others to return his affection just as loyally.
“You know, Auntie Peridot, I learned a good many new songs while I was away. Legolas taught me a lot of them.”
He felt immensely cheered up from his talk with this aunt, who had taught him how to play the lap harp when he had been confined at home for punishment one summer.
She smiled. Their shared love of music was one reason she and Pippin were so close. “Perhaps you could teach me some of them?”
He nodded, and reached a long arm over to the side table where his aunt kept her lap harp, for she often played for the family in the evenings after supper.
“This is a melody Legolas taught me when we were in Lothlórien…” His fingers moved on the strings, and his aunt listened attentively to the beautiful and melancholy Elven tune.
They almost did not notice when the rest of the family began to drift in for the evening.
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