I've taken forever again, I know... but... to make up for it (hopefully) this is the longest chapter yet! And I am starting the next chapter right now. Seriously. Lol. But first, a few comments to the more recent reviews and such...

Starlit Niphredil - You are seriously the best. Thank you so much for being my beta and putting up with me (lol) and I completely agree... I would be all over Pippin as well. What is wrong with Diamond? Sheesh. Silly, silly girl!

Galadriel1010 - Glad you can relate :) I actually loosely based Diamond off my sister... but shh, don't tell her ;)

Harry Potter's Crazed Stalker - Heehee, I'm so glad you like it! Diamond is so much fun to write, mainly because, for once, I'm not the one acting stupid, lol

stocktonwood - That's our Pippin! Sooo adorable... -drool-

Silja - Thanks for your reviews! If your boyfriend is anything like Pippin... then I envy you greatly, haha. You two sound adorable :) Thanks for reading!

Herculeha - Haha, Diamond is a character, isn't she? I always love your reviews, thank you so much for reading!

brachan90 - lol! Diamond is going to go on such a ride before she finally gets some sense knocked into her... of course, with Diamond, we don't know that happens literally or figuratively... or perhaps both? Lol, we shall see... ;)

PopcornLeader - Poor Diamond, what with Amethyst and Pippin around... heehee... thanks for reading!

Pipwise Brandygin - I absolutely LOVE green eyes, so, of course, I have to write about them. A lot. And it's even better because this pair of green eyes belongs to a certain loveable Took... lol, I'm glad you like it!

DaisyBrownlockOfOverhill - I'm glad you enjoy reading about Diamond as much as I enjoy writing about her :) Thanks so much!

Chapter Four

Hasty Conclusions

The nerve of Peregrin! Peregrin - not Pippin. I am officially calling him Peregrin, merely because he asked me to call him Pippin.

I sat contemplating his infuriating insolence on the floor of my room, back against my bed. I was staring at the list of reasons of why I hated Peregrin Took and drawing a complete blank. I wanted to add to it, but I didn't know how to put what I was thinking into words.

Instead, I read the list over several times, attempting to feel angry at him. In its place, all I managed to fill myself with were feelings of confusion. What was going on here?

I gazed on the words before me, my vision blurring as my thoughts traveled backwards...

Like Peregrin had requested, I had met him after dinner to talk. We met just outside the door in the falling dusk, very much alone.

"What is it?" I asked curtly, watching him out of the corner of my eye. He stood with his hands behind his back, gazing up at the colorful sky as though it was the most interesting thing he had ever seen. At my words, he gave a small sigh and turned to face me.

"I know we didn't get off to the best start, Diamond..." he began.

"And whose fault is that?" I had interrupted nastily. He stared at me as though it was obvious.

"Well, if you want the truth...yours, actually. You did spill soup on me."

I immediately felt my cheeks heat up. "That was an accident. Although, if you hadn't been such an arrogant -"

Peregrin waved his hand, cutting me off. "Yes, yes, we could argue over whose fault it was for ages, the point is -"

"Wait a moment," I cut in again. "You're the one that started the argument!"

"No, I didn't," he protested, staring at me incredulously. "You asked whose fault it was that we didn't get off to a good start, with quite a nasty edge to your voice..." He trailed off. We stared at each other. The corners of his mouth slid upwards in an amused smile. I would have laughed, except for it was Peregrin, and I did not want him thinking I suddenly liked him.

"What did you want?" I asked wearily, attempting to keep my voice as pleasant as I possibly could.

"Just to ask you something," he responded. I quirked an eyebrow, waiting. "Do you think..." he paused, looking thoughtful, before going on, "that we could be friends?"

There was a silence in which the only sounds were those of crickets chirping, and a faint eruption of laughter from somewhere inside.

"Why?" I asked at last. I don't know why I asked that... it just popped out of my mouth before my brain could stop it.

"Why?" he repeated my words incredulously, and then chuckled a bit, though it sounded somewhat forced. "Because...because I want to be friends, Diamond. I like you well enough, and I think we could be good friends, given time."

More silence. Tremendous amounts of awkwardness. "Fine," I said at last, simply because I wanted to get out of there. "Fine, friends, all right."

Peregrin visibly brightened. "Thank you, Diamond."

"You're welcome," I said dully, and then smirked. I couldn't help but add, "Peregrin." Before I turned and walked back into the house, leaving him appearing slightly perplexed behind me.

"It's Pippin!" he called after me uncertainly, before I shut the door.

I sighed again. It was no use. I couldn't think of the right words to write.

I was just attaching the paper to the back of my door again when there was a knock. I jumped, startled, and the paper fluttered to the floor. I stepped backwards, and immediately my right foot caught on my left ankle and I fell swiftly and painfully on my back.

"Diamond?" Amethyst's voice floated into the room, muffled through the door.

"Just a moment," I responded hastily, hurriedly picking myself up and brushing myself off. Of course it was Amethyst, she had probably just heard from Peregrin what had happened...

I froze, my hand halfway to the doorknob, mouth falling open. Of course. It was so obvious, why didn't I see it before?

Peregrin was using me to get to Amethyst. It was so painfully noticeable that he liked her, and what better way to get to her than through me? He probably thought that since I was her sister, he could befriend me and I would fill Amethyst's head with silly thoughts of how wonderful he was...

But even that didn't make complete sense. Amethyst already seemed to like him well enough. Had they had a fight? Or, maybe, she had told him she would just like to be friends, because... because he was the future Thain!

Yes! Why would Amethyst want the responsibilities (whatever those were) of being the Thain's wife? Better yet, who would? Well, besides Opal. Opal would just adore that.

"Diamond?" Amethyst asked again, her voice slightly worried. "Did you fall? Are you all right?"

"Fine," I blurted and threw open the door. She regarded me curiously, though it quickly faded and was replaced with an expression of disapproval.

"Pippin just wants to be your friend," she shot, wasting no time with an explanation to her visit. It wasn't like I needed one, anyway.

"What do you mean?" I asked innocently, backing up as Amethyst stormed into the room. I sank onto my bed as she slammed the door behind her.

"Why do you have to be so rude? He's really trying to be nice! Not that he ever wasn't nice, you just don't know how to laugh at yourself..."

"Don't you blame this on me," I warned, crossing my arms in annoyance.

"He's not that bad!" she insisted, her eyes silently pleading with me.

My mind suddenly clicked into rapid thought, working fast. As future Thain, Peregrin would doubtlessly marry. He had come here, met Amethyst...and from the very first day had liked her. But...suppose something had happened? Amethyst might have liked him back at first, but now, what if she was having second thoughts? And if she didn't like him but he wouldn't relent, suppose she thought she could just...pass him off, more or less? To me? Did she think I would like that?

"You would know, wouldn't you?" I retorted bitterly, having drawn some sudden conclusions. I could feel a nasty smirk erupt on my face. "Besides, I'm willing to bet that this whole trip was an easy way of picking out a wife..."

Amethyst gaped at me, her arms falling to her sides. "What gave you that idea?" she questioned. All traces of previous emotions were gone. She was simply curious.

"I have my ways of finding things out," I informed her haughtily.

"Fine," she said briskly. "I'll admit that he did mention that his father keeps bringing up the matter with him, but that he really hadn't given it much thought..."

"Until he met you!" I finished triumphantly.

Amethyst was staring at me in utter astonishment. "What are you talking about, Diamond?"

"Oh, don't pretend like you don't know," I snapped. "What did you do, tell him that you just wanted to be friends? And now he's trying to use me to get to you?" I was going out on a limb and I knew it - suppose my thoughts were wrong after all? - but I was past caring. Besides, I was almost completely positive I was right.


"You - he - what?" Amethyst stuttered. She stared at me. I stared at her.

"Not too eager to defend him now, are you?" I finally asked victoriously. This seemed to shake her from her trance.

"You have it completely backwards, don't you see that?" she demanded. I snorted. "Seriously, Diamond," she went on. "If only you would give him a chance, you would see that -"

"Are you just trying to get rid of him by sending me after him?" I shouted at her, cutting her off. Anger flooded through me, and any rational thoughts fled my head - not that there were many rational thoughts to begin with. "You think that since you don't want to marry him, I will?"

"Marry?" she asked, eyes wide. "Whoever said anything about me getting married?"

"You think I'm that foolish?" I asked. "I've figured everything out, Amethyst!"

"You have not!" she shouted, the calm incredulity in her voice spent. I stood up, glaring daggers at her.

"I have so," I informed her sternly.

"You are impossible," she hissed through clenched teeth. "Forget it, Diamond, just forget it. Just keep living in this little fantasy of yours..." She turned on her heel, and then froze. My eyes followed hers and I swallowed hard.

The list of reasons of why I hated Peregrin was on the back of my door. Oh yes, I had forgotten about that...

After what seemed like hours of Amethyst simply staring at the list, she walked calmly towards the door, opened it, and stepped out. "I really feel sorry for Pippin," she told me calmly. "And I suppose if you ever come to realize the truth, perhaps you will too." And then she shut the door.

I gazed silently at the closed door. Why was she so angry with me? I hadn't done anything...only refused to play a part in Peregrin and Amethyst's little game...

I really wished he and his father had never shown up at our door.

The next morning found me cautiously inching out of my room. Originally, I had intended to stay huddled under the comforting covers of my bed, but the hunger clawing at my stomach finally flushed me out.

I didn't hear anything other than the birds chirping outside an open window down the hall. The day was cloudless and rainless, unlike many previous ones. If I could just get to the kitchen and snag a quick breakfast, I could be out the door before anyone was the wiser...

"Good morning," a cheerful voice greeted me. I jumped, having been halfway down the hall, and spun. My heart sunk when my eyes confirmed what my ears had heard - Peregrin stood behind me, smiling warmly, hands behind his back.

I regarded him warily. Had he spoken to Amethyst since the previous night? Or did he still think I was in the dark as far as his little game went?

"Good morning," I replied stiffly. I took a single step backwards.

"I brought these for you," he went on just as cheerfully, pulling out a handful of daisies from behind his back. I numbly took them. They were my favorite, but I wasn't about to tell him that.

"Thank you," I said, just as obstinately as before.

A few moments of awkward silence passed. "I suppose I'll talk to you later, then," he said at last, grinning that foolishly adorable (wait, did I just think that? Foolishly dreadful is more like it) grin of his.

"Fine," I said, and stood frozen as he strolled off, both my hands clasped numbly around the daisies.

As soon as he was out of sight, I went back into my room and threw the daisies out the window.

He was not getting to me, I told myself. I didn't mean to think that his smile was adorable.

I felt sick with disgust as a vision of his face bubbled up in my mind.

Disgust? I found part of me countering. Do you really believe it to be disgust?

"Yes, I do," I told the empty room. Ordering myself not to think anymore about it, I stalked from the room and away from the daisies, scattered on the ground beneath my window.

It was as I was leaving my room that a sudden thought abruptly struck me, and I was amazed I hadn't thought of it before.

Peregrin had known my favorite color was green. He had brought me my favorite flowers. Coincidence? Perhaps not.

Amethyst, I thought dully, with only a small surge of anger. She had been telling him, which also explained her vague hints as to what she had Peregrin had been talking about. It had been me. I scowled. Was this part of her plan too?

I heaved a sigh and pushed the thoughts from my mind. Already, I was regretting the fight with my sister. I wasn't about to apologize, however. She could be the one to do that, since she had decided to give me what she no longer wanted...

I was about to slip into the kitchen when I heard familiar voices drifting from it. Peregrin and Amethyst. Wrinkling my nose in disgust, I was going to barge in anyway, grab the first edible thing I saw and then leave again, when the door opened and Peregrin himself stepped out.

I leapt back in surprise and tripped over nothing, falling backwards into the wall. I didn't even have time to be embarrassed - Peregrin took my arm and was leading me through the house, out the door, across the yard... we finally paused beneath an old tree before I had regained enough sense to yank my arm from his grasp.

"What was that for?" I hissed, glaring spitefully at him.

"I've just talked to Amethyst," he told me, his tone unlike any I've ever heard from him before. He sounded...enraged. I was a bit shocked, and for a moment couldn't respond.

"Have you?" I asked at last.

"Yes," he told me. "Yes, yes I have." He ran a hand through his curls - they tumbled right back into place, almost past his eyes... I swallowed, and focused on not looking at his hair. Instead, I looked into his eyes.

Bad mistake.

"Oh," I said, voice shaky.

"She told me that you had some..." he paused, looking uncertain. "Wrong ideas," he said at last.

I snapped out of my reverie. "Like what?" I asked coldly, jamming my hands onto my waist and turning my glare back on.

"Like the fact that you seem to think I'm here to... what were the words she said you used? Find a wife?"

"Yes," I said coolly, jutting my chin forward a bit. "And your point is...?"

"My point is that's completely wrong!" he said, eyes widening a bit. "Where did you get that idea?"

I shrugged. "I don't know," I admitted honestly.

"And Amethyst said that you seemed to think that I... that she and I... that we... had some sort of a relationship?"

"Well, don't you?" I demanded hotly. "Or... didn't you? You were always going off together, talking together... it was quite obvious."

"We're friends," Peregrin stated firmly. "The only reason I talked to her - not to be rude, because I certainly do like your sister - was to..." he trailed off, hesitating, his eyes boring into mine and seeming to beg me to understand...

I didn't. "Yes?" I pressed.

"Was so that I could find out about you," he finished lamely.

I opened my mouth, closed it, and then opened it again. "Why?" I asked at last, weakly.

"Why?" he repeated. "Isn't it obvious, Diamond? When I agreed to come here with my father, I never planned on meeting someone who...I just, I don't know, there was just something...endearing, I suppose...when you first spilled soup on me...you're just so different," he said, not making much sense at all. "You're so...un- ladylike."

"Thank you," I said sarcastically.

"I mean it in a good way," he insisted. "I found you... charming."

I laughed. I couldn't help it, it just slipped out. Charming? Me? That was a joke if I had ever heard one.

"I'm serious," he said, gazing down at me. "I just... oh, how can I explain this?" he paused, looking thoughtful, and when he spoke again, it was with new determination.

"My father always asks me if I've given any thought to a particular lass. If I'd met someone special. My answer has always been no. He's been so eager for me to marry, and...I just...I don't know."

"I don't see how this relates to me," I interrupted.

"I'm getting there," he said with a small scowl. "Anyway, like I've said, my answer has always been no. But if he asked me now..." his gaze softened. "I suppose I could say I've given a small amount to thought to a certain lass, even if we haven't known each other very long or know each other very well..."

"Amethyst -" I began.

"No, Diamond," he cut me off. "I thought I already told you that? I'm talking about you." My eyes widened. He plunged on. "I know we don't really know each other, but I feel... I don't know what I feel, to be honest. I feel different. I feel like I want to know you."

I felt completely numb all over. He took my hands and drew me closer, and I was just so completely stunned that I didn't resist. He was so very tall, I thought faintly, and oddly enough, almost comforting for him to have his arms around me. I turned my head upwards to meet his gaze, and he looked right back down at me so openly and hopefully. It was then that my senses returned.

This was all wrong. I didn't even like him, so why wasn't I fighting him?

"I don't know what it is about you, Diamond," he said softly. He was far too close. I could have counted every one of his freckles, and as I looked into his eyes I was lost for a mere second before I mentally shook some sense into myself. I pushed my way out of his arms in a heartbeat. He looked quite startled.

"I'm sorry," I said shortly. "But... I can't."

"W-what?" he asked, sounding surprised.

"No," I insipidly replied, unsure of my words.

"But... why not?"

"I just can't!" I burst out, ignoring the look of hurt that flashed across his face. "Go find Amethyst... or Opal... one of them..." I babbled, and then, not able to stand the pain filling those intense eyes, I turned and fled.