Betrothed

Disreputable Took, A

1. A Disreputable Took

   
   
   

The first time Peregrin Took asked Diamond of Long Cleeve to marry him, it did not go well.

He was lucky, she told him at a later date, that she had not punched him in the nose.

After a generous dinner one evening at Great Smials, most of the party drifted outside to walk off the meal, leaving the old gammers and gaffers settled comfortably by the fire to doze. It was a nice night, the air just pleasantly cool, and the sky free of clouds providing a clear view of the moon and stars. When Diamond found herself wandering alone for a time she didn't mind at all, standing with her face upturned to the sky overhead.

Around her, the squealing laughter of the youngsters as they dashed madly along the garden paths playing chasies and hide-and-seek mingled with the lower murmurings of the grown-ups talking quietly together in the darkness.

Diamond was rather enjoying the moment to herself, though when Pippin joined her after a time, the company was not unwelcome.

Until he blurted out something unexpected and rather alarming.

She blinked at him for a moment in the faint light cast by the moon and the cheery glow from the windows of the main house.

"Did you just as me to marry you?"

She felt the need to clarify.

He nodded brightly.

"Yes. Will you?"

"What kind of a joke is this, then?" she sighed, with a roll of her eyes for good measure.

"It's no joke! I'd make a very good husband, you know."

"Oh, what nonsense," she scoffed. "Anyway, I don't think you've ever looked twice at me before in your life."

"Yes I have - of course I have. You're the prettiest lass in all the Shire, everybody knows that."

"Is that why you proposed then?"

"Well yes. That and Merry dared me too. He said I wouldn't have the nerve to ask."

Her eyes narrowed, and her hands practically flew to her hips.

"Oh, you've got some nerve, all right! Of all the cheek!" she blustered, then took a deep breath and went on determinedly. "The next time I hear someone talking about what fine hobbits you and that scallywag Merry Brandybuck have become since you returned I'll be sure to set them straight. You're no better than the little rascals who used to raid our blackberry patch. You're certainly not any wiser."

With that, she turned and stomped off to find her mother.

"Is that a no, then?" he called after her.

***

The second time was at Long Cleeve farm, at a party to celebrate the laying down of what promised to be the best vintage for many a year. Numerous servings of beer, cider, and wine, of course, were required to properly mark such an occasion.

Diamond had been all too conscious of a certain disreputable Took eyeing her all evening. She had been trying to ignore him just as she had done every time he had been in her presence since his little prank that night at Great Smials. She was succeeding, too, until he started in on what must have been the fourth or fifth tale of adventures in far off lands. All the other hobbits in the young set that had gathered together on one side of the room away from the oldies were listening eagerly, but suddenly Diamond couldn't stand it any more.

"Why don't you put a sock in it Pippin," she snapped, "I've had just about enough of your tall stories!"

Pippin stopped talking, and he and the others just looked at her, rather surprised at the outburst. She felt her face turning bright red and jumped to her feet, since making a hasty exit seemed like the only way to avoid making any more of a fool of herself.

"Oh good, Diamond," suddenly her mother appeared at her side, "Since you're up, you can run and tell Molly that we need more forks and spoons. And after that, fetch another jar of pickles from the larder, there's a good girl."

Glad for the excuse, she all but ran from the great room, ignoring the way the walls spun ever so slightly. All the wine had gone to her head - along with the mug of ale and nip of brandy she'd also consumed. That, of course, was the reason for her embarrassing outburst just now. Tipsy people could get away with saying anything.

She jumped a little when Pippin suddenly appeared just as she was about to go into the larder. He must have followed her, though she couldn't think why.

"Are you all right, Diamond?"

She sniffed, trying to appear cool and unconcerned.

"I'm perfectly well. Why do you ask?"

"Because you just up and yelled at me for no apparent reason. Not that I minded, really - I was afraid you'd never speak to me again."

"No one with any sense would blame me if I didn't."

"So you're still a bit miffed, I see. I suppose that means you've not given any more thought to it? About marrying me, I mean?"

"Are you daft?" she screeched. Her head felt all woozy, and she was hardly in a fit state to deal with his nonsense. "I'll have you know I don't find much humour in this sort of joke, so just leave off will you Pippin?"

"It's not a joke," he said, actually having the gall to look hurt. "I know you refused me last time, but I thought you might have reconsidered. I'm a very eligible hobbit, you know. There are lots of lasses who would be very happy if I were to ask them."

"Well you'd better go ask them then, because I wouldn't marry you if you were the last hobbit in the whole of the Shire!"

It was such a shame she had to go and ruin this grand declaration by hiccuping rather violently at the end of it.

"Oh, that's just the ale talking," he said.

She shook her head, and the motion made her sway a bit unsteadily.

"No it's not."

"Do you feel all right?" he asked then with surprising gentleness. "You're not going to fall over, are you?"

"No," she said slowly, and carefully did not shake her head.

Then she hiccupped again, which was by itself enough to almost tip her over.

But suddenly there was a firm, steady presence around her waist, and she looked over to see Pippin's face quite close to hers.

"Oh," was all she could manage at this unexpected development.

"Don't you like me at all?" he asked. "Not even a little bit?"

"You haven't given me much of a reason to," she answered softly, unable to remove her eyes from his. They were a lovely hazel colour, she noted absently. And he was so very tall.

She was not quite sure what happened next, but she soon found herself in the middle of a very improper embrace.

With Pippin Took, of all hobbits.

Later she would look back and think seriously about that.

All she knew in the moment, however, was the warm mouth on hers, and the rather adventurous hand down the front of her dress, and the way her back was pressed up against the doorway of the larder. It was all extremely improper, but perhaps not wholly unpleasant.

Suddenly a voice called down the hall from the great room, startling them both.

"How about those pickles then, Diamond?"

She pushed Pippin away from her, and after a few seconds of staring dumbstruck at him, turned and hurried away.

Only to hurry back in the next instant, her cheeks burning, because of course she had forgotten the blasted pickles.

Pippin, who had not moved, watched her with a slight smile on his face. Once she passed him with the jar in hand, she heard him murmur, just loud enough for her to hear:

"Maybe not the very last hobbit in the Shire, then..."

Of course, she had too much dignity - or perhaps it was that she was too mortified - to respond to that.

***

The third time was, on the whole, a marked improvement.

She was in the yard scattering grain from a pail while fat brown chickens scratched around her feet, when Pippin came and hung over the gate.

"Hello Diamond."

She pushed a stray piece of hair behind her ear and squinted over at him, the sun in her eyes.

"Does my father know you're here?"

"I met him as I cut across the southern fields. It was you I came to see though."

"To make amends?"

He looked puzzled at that.

"Amends for what?"

Diamond sighed. It extremely ill-mannered of him to not even know what he'd done wrong. Or perhaps, it occurred to her, he was only confused about which of his numerous offences she was referring to.

She was only too happy to elaborate for him.

"That was a shameful way to behave the other night, taking advantage of someone who was obviously up to their ears."

"It was just a little kiss," he protested.

She blushed, remembering that it had been rather more than just that. He had the decency to look a little shamefaced, though, which made her feel a bit better.

"I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings," he offered then. "I've made a mess of things, haven't I?"

"I wouldn't expect anything else - I have known you all my life, Pippin. You like to make fun, and pull pranks..." She shrugged, feeling awkward and nervous for some reason.

"But you see, that's what I'm good at. I'm no good at talking to girls - I never have been. I don't know how to be charming like Merry does when the occasion calls for it. But there's more to me than tall stories and mischief, honestly Diamond."

He was being so sincere - something she hadn't expected from him - but she couldn't help but think how it suited him. Just as much as his silly grin and laughter ever did. She wasn't quite ready to let him off the hook so easily, but she did move a little closer to him as a gesture of encouragement.

"There would want to be more to you than that," she said finally, resting the feed pail on her hip and leaning against the fencepost. "What with you going to be Thain of all the Shire one day."

"Oh that's right!" he exclaimed, jumping on the idea. "I'm going to be Thain. I've got a lot to offer, and I'd share it all with you, if you'd have me."

"You're asking me to marry you again? Didn't you hear me last time when I said I wouldn't marry you if you were the last hobbit in the Shire?"

"Yes, but it didn't seem like you meant it." He paused, shifting uncomfortably. "Is it Solly Whitfoot? I heard you've been walking out with him..."

It wasn't exactly true - she had let Solly walk her home from the village once recently, and never would again - but she didn't correct him.

"Are you jealous? Is that why you've suddenly shown up with such fair manners? Maybe I should let myself be courted more often if it has such a good influence on you."

"No, please don't," he said seriously, even though it was clear she was only teasing. "Won't you give me a chance? Let me court you and no one else?"

She bit her lip, unsure, even though she had begun to suspect - it was the kiss that did it - that perhaps she had wanted him to be serious about it all along.

"I just don't know if I should, Pippin. You've been just beastly about the whole thing - and if you are being straight with me now, you still haven't even really said why you'd want to at all."

"I'm fairly sure it's because I love you," he said simply. "And because you have the prettiest toes I've ever seen."

He looked down at them then, and she followed his gaze. She had always thought she had particularly nice toes, but no one else had ever seemed to notice before. For a moment they both just stood there, staring at her feet, and then they looked up again, and she smiled at him.

"All right then," she said.

His face was suddenly hopeful. "All right... what?"

"I won't walk out with Solly Whitfoot anymore."

He brightened considerably, and gave her a cheerful grin.

"Well that's a good start," he said.

***

It was a very good start, as it turned out.

Because the fourth time he asked her to marry him, she said yes.



This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.

   
   
   

In Challenges

Story Information

Author: Ijemanja

Status: General

Completion: Complete

Rating: General

Last Updated: 04/11/03

Original Post: 04/10/03

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