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Author: Cathleen
Title: A Matter of Perspective: Chapter Two
Theme: Young and Old
Elements: Creepy, Rich, Round, Mute
Author's Notes: I worked in a couple of my elements in a roundabout way, because otherwise I couldn’t get them to fit my story.
Summary: This story takes place during the evening following the birthday party at the Took farm (See Chapter One)). Merry and his grandfather discuss the day’s happenings.
Word Count: 1,731



“A Matter Of Perspective”

Chapter Two

A/N: Pippin is 11 in hobbit years (around 7 in man years), and Merry is 19 (around 12 ½). This story takes place just two months before Bilbo leaves the Shire.


S.R. 1401

Afterlithe


Rorimac Brandybuck wandered outside for a breath of air before retiring. The party had been invigorating yet tiring, and he was more than ready for a sound night’s sleep. He inhaled deeply, enjoying the way the rich scent of new-mown hay tickled his nose, and sighed happily. There was nothing quite like the evening breeze that was neither too warm nor too cool following a hot summer’s day. Ah, he did love the countryside with its rolling green hills and wide pastures, and the melodic trickling of the stream as it fed into the pond. Rory stood motionless and let the harmony of nature wash over him like a soft, tranquil wave.




Startled by the unexpected sound of laughter, Rory peered into the twilight, one eyebrow rising in surprise. His expression softened when he saw who was having such a grand time. A few hundred yards away Pringle Took hung upside down from the lowest branch of the crabapple tree next to the barn, swaying slightly while she chatted up her pet raven. He chuckled softly. Mercy, what will she think of next? His thoughts drifted back to many years past when Pringle was much younger but no less adventurous. The memory made him smile.




Merry slipped out into the moonlight and appeared at his granda’s side without a sound. A smile crept across his face when he saw whom his grandfather was watching. Rory slipped an arm around him and squeezed.




“Hullo, Granda.” Merry returned the hug.

“Why, hullo there, Merry, my lad!” Rory glanced in the direction he’d come from. “And may I ask just where your imp of a cousin has gone? Usually he’s not far behind you.”




“For once Pippin fell asleep early,” Merry told him with a grin. “I think he really wore himself out today from all his running about to keep several steps ahead of Auntie Pringle.” His grandfather laughed.




“He still isn’t over his wariness yet, is he?” Rory sighed. “More is the pity, then. Pringle is truly such a gentle heart.”




Merry shook his head. “I wish he would though. But I think I understand his hesitance a little better than I used to.”




“Oh?” Rorimac looked down.




“We had a long talk today,” Merry explained. “Some of her actions disturb him, that’s all. Perhaps it’s because he’s so young.” He placed both hands on top of the split rail fence and pulled himself up to stand eye to eye with his grandfather. A sudden chortle from Aunt Pringle brought another smile to his face.

Rorimac nodded in her direction. “It’s a mighty good thing she’s got her breeches on tonight.” He winked and Merry almost fell off the fence as he bent forward with laughter. “I hear those ducklings were having some amusement at her expense today. Right before she fell in the pond.”




“Yes,” Merry wheezed when he could breathe again. “Aunt Pringle was after them because she said she’d heard they were gossiping to the goslings about some rather embarrassing rumour. According to Auntie, the ducklings started it.”




A portion of Pringle’s banter with Pepper drifted to their ears on the soft breeze and they paused to listen in. It seemed Pringle was receiving some more shocking news from the raven.




“Now, just who is Hootie?” Rorimac wrinkled up his brow as he listened.




Merry giggled, one hand covering his mouth. “Hootie’s a barn owl that Pippin adopted a few years ago, much to Uncle Paladin’s dismay. But by the time he found out Pippin had already given it a name and made a pet out of him. Uncle Pad thought Hootie was perhaps abandoned, or maybe his mother was killed, because he was alone in the nest and still very young. And he’s exceptionally small so I think that’s the only reason he was allowed to stay.”




“Ah, I can understand Paladin’s uncertainty. But then barn owls usually don’t get very big. They’re not like the great owls in the forest. Having one or two in the barn serves a farmer well.”




“Well,” Merry leaned close to his grandfather’s ear and whispered, “I heard that ever since that time when Pippin was lost in the woods Uncle Pad’s still having some bad dreams. And for some reason, he doesn’t like owls very much. He says the cats do a fine enough job keeping the mice away.”




“Oh? Hmm, I wonder why?” Rory looked puzzled. “Why, that was several years ago and I should think he would have put all that fright behind him. Although of course it was a very unsettling experience for the whole family.”




“Aunt Pringle never seemed worried though. She said everything would turn out fine and that Pippin wouldn’t be gone for long.” Merry smiled up at his grandfather. “And she was right.”




Another round of laughter captured their attention. They watched as Aunt Pringle swung herself easily down from the branch and then giggled as she struggled to regain her balance. Above her head Pepper called out once more as he sought a perch for the night. Pringle shook a finger at him and they heard her scold him about ‘believing everything he heard’ and then something about her knickers. Pringle turned, obviously a bit miffed and with a toss of her head she strutted off in the opposite direction.




Merry blushed at the mention of knickers, but joined in his grandfather’s hearty laugh. “I do love listening to Auntie, Granda! And watching the funny things she does.”




“Her bird calls are amazing!” Rory nodded solemnly, “not to mention her knack for always knowing what her feathered friends are thinking.” He rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “That’s one reason I don’t understand why Pippin is having so much difficulty. It seems to me he has a good deal in common with his aunt. He loves animals, for one thing.”




“True,” Merry nodded.




“And he has far too much energy. And an imagination every bit as wild as Pringle’s.”




“Yes, sir.”




“And neither one can tolerate being silent for more than a moment.”




Merry nodded again.




“On the other hand, she does get carried away with pinching his cheeks. Not something most lads appreciate.” Rorimac ruffled Merry’s hair and smiled at him fondly. “Although you seem to take it with good grace.”




Merry shrugged. “She doesn’t really try to pinch mine as often as Pip’s. I guess his are just right for it.” He gave his grandfather a wicked grin.




“Say, there’s Bilbo. Come, let’s go join him.” Rorimac ambled across the farmyard to where the old hobbit had just stepped out into the rich golden moonlight and was lighting up his pipe.




Spying them, Bilbo took a long draw on his pipe and tilted his head towards Pringle as she passed nearby. “Lovely evening for a stroll, wouldn’t you agree?”




Rory gave a snort of laughter. “Apparently a good one for grousing as well.”




“Yes, indeed. Now what was that about her knickers?” Bilbo turned to the pair with a raised eyebrow.




“I’m not certain, but she seemed quite disgusted over something Pepper said to her a moment ago,” Rorimac said. He nudged his grandson. “What do you think, Merry?”




“I think it has to do with the ducklings. We might try asking them.”




“You might want to be careful with that. I hear they’re terrible gossips,” Bilbo reminded him.




“Well, I for one am simply beside myself with curiosity.” Rorimac stared after Pringle as she disappeared into the shadows next to the barn. The twilight had become nearly full dark by now, but the moon shown brightly over the treetops.




“My stars, Rory. It won’t do you a bit of good. I hardly think you’re prepared to go up to Pringle and ask her what’s she’s muttering about her knickers for.” Bilbo pulled a straight face that was belied by the twinkle in his bright eyes.




“Hmph. No harm in curiosity.” He nudged Merry. “Is there, lad?”




Merry was enjoying listening to the conversation of two his favourite family members immensely, a fact that was obvious by the grin on his face. “Not at all, Granda. As a matter of fact, Aunt Tina always says curiosity is the spice of life!”




“Ah, and I imagine she’s said that enough times to believe it in order to deal with young Peregrin’s shenanigans,” Bilbo chuckled and slipped one arm around Merry’s shoulders and the other around Rorimac’s. “Come lads, let’s go inside and have some of that delightful chamomile tea Eglantine had brewing just before I came outside. Perhaps Pringle will talk in her sleep tonight and you’ll have the answer to your question, eh?”




All three chortled as Rory opened the farmhouse door.




***

Almost everyone was in bed but Esmie and Eglantine still lingered in the kitchen over their tea.




“Dear Auntie Pringle.” Eglantine shook her head, amused. “What a spectacle she made of herself today.”




Esmeralda chuckled. “But you must admit she was enjoying every moment of the attention.”




“Oh, that she was. I think she does it on purpose much of the time. But oh! that part about the gossip from the ducklings, that was inventive.”




“Did you ever find out just what the wee ducks said, Tina?”




Eglantine burst into laughter. “Oh my, yes. Auntie told me those naughty ducklings had seen up her skirts and started the rumour that she wasn’t wearing any knickers!”




“What? Oh mercy! No wonder she was so upset with them!”




Their cheery laughter rang out, echoing through the old farmhouse, even as they put out the candles. In one of the bedrooms Aunt Pringle heard them and smiled into the night.

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
nancylea57
Sep. 15th, 2008 08:29 pm (UTC)
auntie pringle just wants a bit more loving then some,i think. thanks for giving the girl a chance at our hearts.
ceshaughnessy
Sep. 17th, 2008 02:32 pm (UTC)
Thanks Nancylea! I hope you will continue to enjoy Auntie Pringle as she grows!
dreamflower02
Sep. 15th, 2008 10:33 pm (UTC)
I'm enjoying this slow unfolding of the relationship between the young ones and Auntie Pringle. Rory is such a wise one!
ceshaughnessy
Sep. 17th, 2008 02:33 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much Dreamflower! It was fun to write Rory. I've never written him much before.
golden80
Sep. 18th, 2008 03:24 pm (UTC)
*giggles* I love how you write these characters. Aunty Pringle, Merry with Rory and Bilbo. Was a very good read!

Golden
ceshaughnessy
Sep. 18th, 2008 06:16 pm (UTC)
Thanks honey! It's so good to hear you enjoyed it! *Hugs*
blslarner
Sep. 20th, 2008 08:02 am (UTC)
Oh, I love that last icon! Our Tulip now has a physical presence for us? Yay!

And love Auntie Pringle intent on demonstrating to all that she does SO wear knickers! Heh!
ceshaughnessy
Sep. 21st, 2008 12:21 am (UTC)
Thank you Bonnie! But I think Auntie still has a lot more surprises in store for us yet. I'm glad you like my icon! She has a very Pippin-ish scarf on that Pearl made for her - wasn't that thoughtful of her?

I have a few more and am working on some Sammy-lambie ones too.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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