7. Epilogue: Another Book
"Do you really think we should return that?" Merry asked Éowyn, his hand resting lightly on that book. The week with their grandchildren was almost over. Tomorrow they would return to their own home. Éowyn could not quite contain a sigh of regret. The little book with its innocuous dark blue cover had more than livened up their stay in the Smials.
"I think they would notice, judging from where Willow found it and the way that scarf is wrinkled," Éowyn remarked, her cheeks flushing lightly at the thought of the wrinkles they had put into some scarves of their own by now.
"Probably," Merry with a sigh of his own. Then he pursed his lips, glancing sideways at his wife, a wicked gleam in his eyes. "Do you think we could pretend that Willow stole it?"
"Willow!" Éowyn snorted with laughter. The girl had kept blushing all week long, whenever Merry and Éowyn so much as even looked at her - or at each other in her presence. Éowyn could only guess at what the girl imagined they had done with the book after sending her away to Auntie Marigold. Though, Éowyn mused, whatever Willow had been thinking had probably been quite correct!"The poor girl! And she's still years and years to imagine all the possibilities with no chance of putting them into practice at all." She giggled softly at the ferocious scowl suddenly appearing on Merry's face. "She'd better wait," he muttered. But then he smiled at Éowyn and heaved another sigh. "Well, I'd better put it back then."
The honest regret that coloured his voice was endearing. "Hmmm," Éowyn said, bending down and snuggling her face between his dark curls and his shoulder, inhaling gratefully the familiar scent of pipe weed and her Merry.
"You know," she suggested suddenly. "I could ask Arwen to keep her eyes open. Ask her to send me a book like this one if she happens to see one."
Merry turned so abruptly he hit her nose. Éowyn jumped back, holding her nose, giving a muffled exclamation of pain. "Ow!" she cried, and, again, "Owwww, owww, owww!"
"Oh dear! I'm so sorry," Merry reached for her to bestow healing kisses on her maltreated organ. "But you really shocked me there for a bit," he admitted. "I mean... Lady Arwen! She is a queen, after all! And an elf!"
"And a proud grandmother, same as I am," Éowyn countered, frowning a little. "How do you think those children of hers were conceived that are responsible for her grandchildren?"
"Well," Merry admitted. "There is that."
He fell silent, still holding the book in his hands, but making no move towards the door, obviously unwilling to part with that literary gem.
Finally he looked up at Éowyn. "And you really think she would send us one of these if you asked her?"
Éowyn could not help grinning. "I think she gave an Elvish version of this to Sam once, so I don't see why not."
"I think I have to sit down for a moment now," was Merry's answer.
A few months later a messenger from Gondor arrived in the Shire, bearing the usual number of letters from Minas Tirith, Ithilien and Edoras, and ... a small, but quite heavy rectangular package that looked as if it might contain a book ...
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