Theo carfully set the three mugs of ale on the table and took his seat across from his brother and cousin. Around him, his family was enjoying a beautiful fall day in Brandy Hall's garden. It was a few days after Rose's birthday part, but Ivy's family had stayed on longer and today they were enjoying some time together.
He grinned at his son. Sar was chasing after Ivy's twins. Legolas and Gimli were quite happy to keep him busy, keeping up the tradition that had grown between the Tooks and Brandybucks of teaching your little cousins to get into trouble. Theo realized that he'd soon have to learn how to keep a stern face as he scolded his son for some brilliant joke or prank Sar had pulled off. He'd have to ask his dad for advice on that.
He saw of his daughter, toddling along with her grandmother to look at the autumn flowers. Arwen, still unsteady on legs not used to walking, had a tight grip on Éowyn's finger. She had to bend over quite a bit to hold Arwen's hand, but from the smile on Éowyn's face as she watched the little girl pat at a purple dahlia, Theo didn't think she minded too much.
His gaze drifted to Rose, seated on a blanket with Moira and Calla. Rose briefly caught his eye and smiled, then turned back to her conversation with Moira. Rose had a lovely glow about her. It had been just a week ago that Éowyn had confirmed Rose's suspicions. There would be another little Brandybuck arriving in the spring.
Rose and Moira both quickly leaned forward to catch Calla, who had been just about to wobble over. Calla was just sitting up by herself, now. Moira caught her daughter and propped her back up. Calla squealed and gave her mother a slobbery baby grin.
Theo heard a quiet chuckle next to him and looked over at his brother. Eomer was watching his wife and daughter with a huge smile on his face. Theo felt a pang of sadness as he looked at Eomer. They'd be moving to the farm in Bridgefields in a few weeks. Uncle Freddy and Aunt Celandine were ready to pass the farm on to Eomer and settle in at Brandy Hall to be close to their daughters and grandchildren. Though he would only be a short trip away, Theo was going to miss his brother terribly.
He glanced next at Fari. He'd miss Fari, too, now that Fari had responsibilities keeping him in Tuckborough. Theo smiled. Fari was a different hobbit now that he'd put his past to rest. He'd finally revealed he'd gone north to see Diamond that summer. He wouldn't say what had occurred between them, only that she wouldn't be a worry anymore. But Theo could tell that whatever had happened had changed him. Fari no longer had that sense of sadness hanging over him that he'd had since childhood.
He saw Fari's eyes light up and a big grin appeared on his face. Theo followed Fari's gaze. Goldi came out of the Hall carrying Perry. Theo knew that his wife and son were the biggest reasons for Fari's happiness. He didn't think Fari would have made it through the past year without Goldi.
Theo watched Goldi pass Perry to Pippin. Pippin was a doting grandfather--almost as bad as his own dad--and took every opportunity to hold his grandson. Theo chuckled. Well, when he could get the baby away from Ivy, that is.
Theo looked back at his companions and they both looked up at him.
"Where would we be without them?" Theo asked, cocking his head towards their families. He grinned. "Glad you gave up on bachelorhood?"
Eomer and Fari looked at each other and nodded, grins on their faces. Then Fari picked up his mug of ale. "To love," he said.
Theo and Eomer picked up their mugs as well, tapping them against Fari's.
Thanks for reading, everyone! I really appreciated the comments. Now that rewrites are over, I can turn my full attention to getting the next story done. The Wanderers will be a bit different from the first two, in that I'm taking a stab at the adventure genre (though there will still be some romance), following Bori and Ari Took as they leave the Shire to become soldiers. The setting will be greatly expanded (some of the story will take place in Harad, among other places) and there will be many new characters, though the story will also spend a good amount of time in the Shire. It's also going to be a darker story, as there are wars happening in Middle Earth, and not every character will have a happy ending. I'm still aiming for September 1 to start posting. I'll put an occasional progress report in my Ivyverse LiveJournal. If you have any questions on this story or anything in Ivyverse, leave a comment in the LJ.