Beginnings & Endings

by pippinmerry

Chapter One

It was a hot night in mid August. Paladin Took’s three daughters sat nervously together around the fire while their father paced back and forth.

“Father, please, you’re making Vincy nervous,” said the eldest, fifteen-year old Pearl.

“No he isn’t,” insisted five-year old Pervinca who sat in her sister’s lap, clingy tightly to Pearl’s nightgown.

Paladin smiled at his youngest daughter. “I’m sorry, sweet thing.” He sat down next to eleven year old Pimpernel and placed his head in his hands.

“Father? Mother will be alright won’t she?” Pimpernel placed her small hand on her father’s arm.

Paladin looked up. “She’ll be fine, darling. She had the three of you just fine.”

“But none of us were this early!” stated Pearl.

Paladin sighed. In a room just adjacent to the one he sat in with his children, his wife lay, giving birth to their 4th child. This one was more then two weeks early and he feared for both his wife and child. He couldn’t, however, let his daughters know of this.

Smiling at his three daughters, he asked, “So, do you want a brother or another sister?”

“A sister,” said Pearl. “I would like another sister. Having Merry for a cousin is plenty enough of lads.”

“Me too. I don’t want a little brother,” said Pervinca, as she stiffled a large yawn.

“And you, Nelly?” Paladin turned to his middle daughter.

She was quiet, as was her nature, for a moment before answering. “I would like a brother, I think. Two sisters is plenty for me. Besides, Father, you need an heir. Pearl can’t be Thain!”

“It’s two to one, Nel, it seems that having a sister wins.” Pearl smirked at her younger sister.

“You forgot Father and Mother! They may want a son.”

Pearl just shook her head and went back to comforting Pervinca.

“It’s alright, darling,” said Paladin, as he kissed his daughter’s head. “I’m glad to know I have you on my side.”

There was a knock at the front door. Paladin got up and left the room to answer it. He soon returned with three figures behind him.

“Uncle Saradoc!” exclaimed Pearl as she took Pervinca off her lap and ran to her uncle.

“Hello, my Pearl.” Saradoc Brandybuck hugged his niece tightly. “How are you, love?”

“I’m fine, but I am worried about Mother.”

“I’m sure you are. Pervinca, come here and hug your uncle!”

Pervinca giggled and ran into her uncle’s arms.

Meanwhile, Pimpernel went to speak to her Aunt Esmeralda. “Hello Aunt Essy.”

“Nelly, how are you doing?” Esmeralda knelt down and hugged her niece tightly. She hated to admit it, but she loved Pimpernel the most of her three nieces.

“I’m alright but like Pearl, I’m worried about Mother.”

“Ah, you mother is strong, and she’ll be fine,” said Saradoc, still holding Pervinca, “So Paladin, hoping for a son?”

“Yes, but at this point, I’d hope to hear word everything is alright.” He felt a slight tug at his sleeve. Looking down, he saw his eight-year old nephew, Meriadoc, at his side. He knelt down. “Yes, Merry?”

“Is Aunt Tine going to be alright?”

“She should be, yes.”

“Good then. I hope you get a son. I want a lad cousin to play with when I come here.”

Paladin chuckled and pulled the boy into a hugged. He kissed the top of Merry’s head. “I hope so too. If he’s half as good as you, then I’ve lucked out.”

“Be careful what you wish for, Pally,” said Esmeralda with a sly smile.

“Paladin?” said a voice from the other side of the room.

Paladin looked up. It was Bella Took, the healer that was tending to his wife. “Yes, Bell?”

“Come on in then. Come and met your son.”

A wide smile came across Paladin’s face. He let go of Merry and sprinted across the room and into the one that held his wife and newborn son.

“I guess I win,” said Pimpernel, looking at Pearl.

“He’ll be my best friend, won’t he Nel?” said Merry who had taken a hold of her hand.

“Of course, Merry. You need a partner in crime after all, to help you terrorize the Shire. I say it’s high time Tuckborough had a troublemaker.”

Paladin came out of the room a few minutes later. “Come on in everyone. Quiet now or you’ll wake him.”

They small crowd went into the room. Eglantine Took lay in bed, looking exhausted but happy. In her arms lay a small bundle.

“Pearl, Nelly, Vinca, meet your brother, Peregrin Took,” said Paladin, making no effort to hide the pride in his voice.

“He’s wonderful, Mother!” said Pearl as she leaned in to kiss her.

“Yes, Mother. I wanted a sister but I guess he’ll do.”

Eglantine smiled at her youngest daughter as she kissed her on the cheek.

Pimpernel turned her attention to her brother. “Hello, Peregrin. I’m glad you could join us.” She kissed him on the forehead. “Oh, Mother, he was worth the wait.”

“Yes, he was wasn’t he?” Eglantine kissed her 3 rd daughter.

Merry approached the bed slowly. He peeked in at the small bundle. “He’s so tiny! A little pip of thing.”

The adults laughed at this.

“No, I don’t mean that in a bad way. I think I’ll call him Pip for short. He’s my little Pip cousin and I’ll watch out for him.” Merry kissed the small forehead before kissing his aunt.

“Pip. Hmm. No, that won’t do. How about Pippin, Merry-lad?” Paladin asked.

Merry thought for a moment. “Yes. That will do. My cousin, Pippin. Right. We’ll be friends for always.”

Saradoc picked up his son and hugged him tight. “I’m sure you will. After all, you’ll be Master and he’ll be Thain. They have to be friends after all.”

Nel stood quietly next to her mother, looking at her brother. I’ll always look out for you, she thought, always.