1. Chapter One
“Pippin dear, is something wrong? I’ve asked you the same question three times in a row and you haven’t heard a word I’ve said.”
Pippin blinked and turned his head to look at the hobbit lass perched beside him on the blanket beneath the large willow tree. “I’m so sorry, Di, please forgive me. I guess I was thinking too hard. What was the question, by the way?”
“Would you like a bite of this chicken leg? The honey glaze on it is really delicious—you’d like it, I’m sure.”
“Yes, that would be lovely.” Diamond held out the piece of roast chicken she had speared with a fork, and Pippin caught her hand, lifting it to his mouth while she continued to hold the fork. He took a good-sized bite, chewing it well; Diamond smiled and took another bite then, licking her lips to taste the very last bits of glaze. Pippin watched her, beguiled as ever by this distant cousin of his, hoping she would give him the answer he longed to hear by the end of the afternoon.
Had it really been three years since they had met? She had accompanied Sancho Proudfoot to Merry’s wedding with Estella, and was small and plump with a reserve that was intriguing. Despite the fact she was a descendant of the Bullroarer, Pippin could not recall seeing her before, for the Tuckborough Tooks no longer had much contact with the northern branch of the clan. He liked her immediately, dancing the Springle-ring over and over with her, enough times that his current flame, Merry’s cousin Celandine, stormed off in a jealous rage. An abashed Pippin managed to patch things up with his offended ladylove, but he filed away the memory of Diamond, determined not to forget the charming lass.
A year later around Yuletime, his heated romance with Celandine reached a spectacular termination when she accused him of cheating on her—which had more than a few unfortunate grains of truth to it—and flung a glass of wine in his face in front of an appalled group of Brandybucks. Pippin, embarrassed and humiliated, decided he needed to court a milder and quieter type of hobbitess in the future. When he learned in the spring that Diamond had shown Sancho the door, he resolved to become better acquainted with her and began riding to Long Cleeve on a regular basis.
“Have some eggs, Pip,” said Diamond. “And these pickles are wonderful—I made them myself, last summer.” She placed the food on a napkin and passed it over to him. He ate them with relish and grinned.
“A fine job you did too, Di—these are very tasty.”
She smiled at him, exposing the crooked little tooth in front. Odd, he mused, that such an obvious flaw could be so endearing. If he chose to be objective, he would have to admit she was not a great beauty—certainly nothing like his sister Pearl, who could have been mistaken for a petite elf with her ripe golden looks. But Diamond was very pretty; her feet were nicely shaped and her honey brown hair shone in the sunlight. She was fairer than most hobbits, and her cheeks carried a rosy blush that was quite enticing. It had not taken Pippin long to find himself seriously courting Diamond, enchanted by her winning ways and falling in love for the first time in his life.
What attracted Pippin above all else, however, was her aura of calm serenity. After spending his whole life around his excitable, flighty mother and sisters, it was beyond refreshing to be with someone so unflappable, so unruffled by the ups and downs of life. But the bad part was that her cool surface never let him be quite certain as to how she felt about him. It was clear she enjoyed his company, for she often told him so, and she always ran to greet him when he came to her parents’ smial. After some of his lovers, though, she seemed to hold back when he kissed and caressed her, leaving him to wonder if she was really stirred by his courtship, or merely tolerating matters for the sake of bagging the future Thain.
That was why he had postponed asking her to marry him for so long, for he was terrified she would say no, or say yes for any reason but loving him. When he had admitted to Merry a week ago how frightened he was at that prospect, Merry looked at him in exasperation.
“For pity’s sake, Pip, just have it out with her, will you? I doubt she turns you down, and not because you’ll be Thain. If I can judge correctly, and I do believe I can, she loves you, quite as much as you love her.”
“How can you be so sure of that? You’ve not been the one courting her for two years,” said Pippin petulantly.
Merry sighed. “Because she’s enough like Mother for me to read her well. Underneath that calmness is a great deal of feeling—that’s why she keeps it all bottled up inside. Now go settle everything, and stop inflicting your nerves on the rest of us! You can have her here if you don’t want Aunt Tina huddling over you.”
So he sent Diamond a letter inviting her to Brandy Hall for a midsummer visit, for he had kept the house at Crickhollow after Merry wed, valuing it for the privacy it gave him; as Merry had guessed, he had no desire to share his private affairs with the entire Great Smials. She had arrived a few days ago, smiling and sweet as ever. A large hamper of food came with her, for she loved sharing her cooking with Pippin, not to mention anyone else for that matter. She beamed happily this morning at breakfast when he suggested taking a picnic lunch down to the Brandywine’s banks so they could enjoy the fine weather, and went to the kitchens to arrange the menu and pack the basket.
“Have some more mint tea, Pip, it’s getting warmer and you must be thirsty,” Diamond urged. He nearly spilled the cup as she gave it to him, and drank it down in one gulp. Diamond stared at him in consternation.
“I’ve never seen you this nervous before, not ever! Something is wrong, isn’t it?” A look of panic flitted across her face.
Pippin pulled out his handkerchief and mopped his own sweating brow before he dared answer her. “Nothing is wrong, Di. I’m just a trifle jittery today, that’s all.”
“About what? Have I offended you somehow?” Her lower lip trembled as her brown eyes filled with tears. “I have, haven’t I, and you don’t want to say anything?”
“No, no, you’ve not done or said a thing to bother me, dear heart,” said Pippin reassuringly as he slid over and took her hands in his. “It’s just . . .well, it’s just I have a question to ask you, you see.”
“And what question is that?” she replied, her eyes wide with puzzlement.
Pippin’s fingers brushed over his waistcoat pocket, and he felt the ring he had tucked into it earlier in the day. Made of gold, a perfect little diamond glittered in it, with a blessing in Elvish engraved inside the graceful band. It had been part of the small chest of jewels and monies Aragorn had insisted he take home with him from Minas Tirith seven years ago. Merry and Sam had carried similar hoards as well, though Frodo steadfastly refused his, resisting Aragorn’s entreaties. When he began rummaging in it for a betrothal gift a week before, he had been startled to discover the ring. It was so appropriate—down to containing Diamond’s name-jewel—that it made him suspect that Queen Arwen’s foresight had led her to place it in the chest.
He dug into his pocket and slowly pulled the ring out, holding it up to a mesmerized Diamond. The sunshine sparkled off the white gem, firing it with the same light he remembered from the Lady Galadriel’s ring.
“Diamond Took, my dearest darling love, will you marry me?” He swallowed and held his breath, awaiting an answer.
Her mouth moved soundlessly for a minute, and then she found her voice.
“Oh, Pippin, I never thought you’d ask! Yes, yes, yes!” She flung herself against him, knocking him backward as he clung to the ring.
“Here, let me put this on you before we lose it—” He slipped the ring onto her left hand; she admired it for a moment, and kissed him passionately, taking him by surprise. She drew away a little and looked deeply into his eyes.
“I love you so much, Pip,” Diamond breathed. “How can I ever thank you for proposing?” The gleam in her gaze might have suggested satisfied greed to an objective observer, but to the besotted Pippin, it only spoke of desire.
Pippin smiled slyly. “Di, sweetheart, let me show you how.” He kissed her again, skillfully deepening it, and as he did, he thought, Merry was right, the old dog—I didn’t need to worry at all. What was I scared of? He began to unlace Diamond’s chemise as he continued to kiss her. Time to bring matters to their proper conclusion, he thought fleetingly, and then he forget to think entirely.
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.