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Dreamflower's Mathoms II  by Dreamflower

á(Written for Cathleen's birthday.)

Keeping the Peace

"Mother." Pippin stood in the door to the kitchen, with his small travelling case in his hand.

"Excuse me, Buttercup," Eglantine said to the cook. They had been planning the list for market day. "What is it Pippin?" she asked, studying her small son. She recognised the stubborn Tookish glint in his eyes. Whatever he had in mind, he would not be easily dissuaded.

The nine-year-old looked at his mother seriously. "I wondered if I could have a sandwich and an apple. I don't think I can get to Bag End before time for lunch, so I might need something to eat on the way."

"Bag End?" What did her lad have in mind? "I don't believe we have received any invitations for you to go to Bag End." She did not mention the fact that it was too far for a nine-year-old to walk by himself.

He nodded furiously. "I did! I did, Mother! Last year when I visited, Cousin Bilbo said 'Pippin-lad we enjoyed your visit very much! You must come back to see us again!' and so I am." He gazed up at her earnestly, making his eyes as wide as possible. "That's an invitation! It is!"

Eglantine pursed her lips. His little trick of putting on that innocent expression meant he knew very well it had not been a real invitation. "It is an invitation of sorts, Pippin. It means that he would not object to you asking if you could visit. It does not mean you are free to show up unannounced upon his doorstep."

"Oh," Pippin looked down and rubbed the back of his right foot with his left. "But I'd like to go visit Bag End now."

There was a note of urgency. What had he been up to?

"There aren't any lasses at Bag End," he added plaintively.

Ah! The light dawned. Paladin was away from the farm for some weeks, gone to the Great Smials at the request of Thain Ferumbras-- or more likely, at the order of Ferumbras' tyrannical mother Lalia. Poor Pippin had been rather at the mercy of his sisters, since his father was not here for him to follow about, and get out from under their feet. But there must be a little more to it than thatů

"Pippin!" There was a screech from Pimpernel. "Mother!"

Pippin looked up with panic in his eyes, as Pimpernel stalked into the kitchen. He retreated behind his mother's skirts.

"Mother! My new blue linsey-woolsey that Aunt Primrose gave me for her birthday, is missing! I was going to make a new frock with it this week! And I was going to show it to Daffodil when she came to visit today! He's taken it!" Her eyes blazed and she glared at Pippin.

Eglantine arched a brow, and folding her arms, asked "Now, why do you suppose he'd do a thing like that, Pimmie?"

Pippin peered out cautiously at the sudden silence, and glanced up at his mother. She put a hand on his head. "Don't say a thing, Peregrin."

"I'm waiting, Pimpernel, for an answer."

Now it was her daughter who looked down and rubbed one foot behind the other. "I don't know," she mumbled.

"It could not possibly be because he thought you'd try to use him as a model, could it? Hasn't your father told all of you lasses never to do that again?"

"But Vinca's too tall!" she blurted, and then put her hand to her mouth. It was a grievance with Pimpernel that her younger sister was often taller than she. Pippin, however, had recently had a growth spurt, and at least at this point in time, was as tall as his older sister. Pimmie took more after the Banks side of the family, who were somewhat shorter and plumper than most Tooks.

Eglantine shook her head. "Pippin may be near your height, Pimpernel, but he's far too slender. Furthermore, your father has forbidden you to do that to your little brother any longer."

Pimpernel blushed.

Eglantine looked down at her son, who was grinning triumphantly. "Peregrin Took, you go and fetch your sister's fabric for her at once. And then we will write a little note to Cousin Bilbo, to see if it is convenient for a visit from you."

Pippin shot off like an arrow, and was quickly back, the material rather mussed and soiled. Pimpernel looked at it in dismay. "I'll have to wash it!"

"You would have had to, anyway, Pimmie, dear, lest it shrink after you made it up. You do not need to press your brother into service as a dress model. Pearl and I will help you to fit it to yourself, which will work much better." Pimpernel nodded, and went off with her material.

"Thank you, Mother," said Pippin.

"Mind you, Peregrin Took, it does not excuse you for taking something that did not belong to you."

"I wasn't going to keep it," he protested.

"I know, but that doesn't matter. Keep your hands off other people's belongings unless you ask."

He nodded vigorously.

"Now, fetch my stationary box, and we will send a note to Cousin Bilbo by way of the Quick Post, and find out if it is convenient for you to visit him and Frodo right now."

He gave her a big hug and ran to do her bidding, as Eglantine congratulated herself on one more family crisis averted.

Tooks! They needed some handling, they did!

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