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A wee bit of hobbit fluff! How Pippin found his cat, Lily. Written for the "Wee Hobbits" November Challenge, "Hobbits in Blankets". Pippin is eleven in hobbit years, around 6 1/2 in man years. Takes place after his first adventure with Tulip, the knitted piglet!
“Well, if you really must know, I’ve been exploring all on my own! Since you wouldn’t play with me, and Pearl is busy helping Mum with the bread making, and Da is away in the village and even Vinca doesn’t have the time to tease me today…” Pippin sniffed dramatically. He turned away from the shelf in his bedroom where he displayed all of his stuffed animals.
Tulip watched him disapprovingly from her perch in the most honoured spot of all - the middle. She rested slightly above the other toys on a thick book Nell had given him. “I know what you’re thinking,” he accused the knitted piglet without turning. His back stiff, arms folded in front of him, the little lad pouted impressively. Tulip rolled her embroidered green eyes in mock dismay and clucked at him for being so childish.
“And don’t try scolding me, either. Because I’m not listening.” Pippin stuck his lip out, annoyed with her failure to sympathize with him. Tulip chose this moment to admonish him for being so rude and keeping his back to her, not to mention keeping her high upon a shelf when she should have been tucked inside his shirt, supervising his latest adventure, and keeping him out of mischief.
“I asked if you wanted to go with me! You said you wanted to finish your nap first. I didn’t feel like waiting.” Pippin listened intently for a moment. “Well, how come you had to take a nap in the middle of the day, anyhow?” Tulip haughtily reminded him of how he had dropped her out of his bed during the night and left her on the floor where she lay shivering and awake for the remaining hours.
“Oh. I’m very sorry about that. I already told you I didn’t do it on purpose,” he sighed, turning around at last.
Tulip’s red mouth quirked up in a little grin and her eyes twinkled at him. How she loved her little lad, even when he got too big for his britches sometimes. Pippin raised an eyebrow indignantly. “What do you mean I’m too big for my britches? What’s that supposed to mean?” Tulip chuckled and refused to answer. Pippin frowned. It sounded exactly like something his mother would say.
He stood on tiptoe and scooped her off the shelf. Nuzzling her close to his face he drank in the scent of her pink wool. It smelled just like his mother’s knitting basket and reminded him of the day she’d gifted him with the piglet. Tulip cooed at him and he rubbed her soft body against his cheek appreciatively. “Yes, that is better. I don’t like it when we disagree. Let’s not get upset with each other again today, all right?”
Tulip reminded him that it had been his fault in the first place, not hers. He sighed and rolled his own eyes. He never could get the last word in when it came to his friend. “All right, it was my fault! Are you happy now?” He snorted when she nodded her head with great enthusiasm. “Would you like to come with me?” He smiled when she agreed. “All right, let’s go then. I want to show you something I found!”
Pippin plunked his toy on his shoulder and sauntered off. “Shh,” he warned her as they crept past the kitchen door where his mum and sister still worked diligently on the bread. He paused long enough to sniff the air and pat his tummy. Tulip bobbed her head in agreement. Neither of them thought they could wait much longer to taste it. The aroma had filled the farmhouse, beckoning to them for hours, as the yeast worked hard at raising the bread for baking.
Pippin looked at the neat row of loaves waiting their turn to bake and then eyed the ones that had already come out of the oven. He knew better than to try to sneak in to get one of the hot rolls Pearl was just placing on the rack to cool after brushing them with the freshly churned butter. His mother always discouraged his presence when she was preoccupied with such a large task and a very hot oven. Tulip empathized and reminded him that at least it was something they could look forward to at supper tonight!
The pair darted out of a side door together and headed for the barn. “I have a very big surprise.” Pippin trotted along faster in his excitement. The door had been left ajar and he slipped in through the crack, hurrying towards the back of the barn where bales of hay were piled high. Tulip cocked her pink head in wonder at the soft mewling cries drifting out of the corner. Pippin grinned and knelt in front of one of the bales. He pointed at the blanket that lay balled up in a pile of soft straw behind it. Tulip raised an eyebrow in dismay and demanded to know just what his good blanket was doing out here in the barn? Didn’t he know his mother was going to have something to say about it?
Pippin continued to grin as he raised a corner of the blanket and proudly displayed a brand new litter of kittens curled up inside. Tulip’s knitted heart softened at the sight and her eyes shone. Pippin nodded enthusiastically. “I knew you’d understand!” He reached up and placed her down next to the litter so she could get a better look. “Hullo, Snowflake,” he greeted the mother cat. The name had been a jest, started by Merry when the cat had found her way to the farm recently. She was jet black with only a touch of white specks on her underbelly and a few white spots around her nose. Pippin had taken great delight with Merry’s suggestion and had called her Snowflake, much to his older cousin’s amusement.
He gently patted the mother cat on the head and pointed to the five kittens tucked warmly into the pocket around her belly. “Look Tulip!” She looked where he pointed and was amazed to spy a single pure white kitten with fluffy long hair amongst the nest of dark ones. Pippin giggled at her expression. “That one’s my special kitty! I’m calling her Lily.” Tulip had to agree the name was appropriate. The kitten was as bright as a delicate white lily set against a background of dark garden soil, or in this case, the kitten's litter mates!
Pippin giggled at her comparison. “That’s right. Her fur is the same colour as the flowers Mum grows in her garden.” He stroked her carefully with one finger. “And she feels as soft as she looks,” he declared. He settled down next to the kittens and laid his head on the edge of the blanket, placing Tulip next to his cheek. “I hope Mum doesn’t mind too awfully that I gave my new blanket to Lily,” he confided in a whisper. “Lily Took,” he mumbled sleepily. “The newest member of our family.” Pippin chuckled softly and Tulip joined in.
His eyelids grew heavy as the gently purring cat slowly lulled him to sleep. Tulip settled in for a much needed second nap. Soon, both hobbit lad and knitted piglet snored gently in unison while Snowflake watched them as she nursed her babies. She knew this was a very special pair of friends and the perfect home for her new little family. Tulip stirred and opened one eye to study her young master fondly, then looked up at Snowflake and winked one bright green embroidered eye conspiratorially. Indeed, the perfect home and an exceptional family. Snowflake’s purr grew loud with contentment as she closed her eyes and joined them in peaceful slumber.
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