An additional scene for The Roots of the Ivy. Takes place right before Chapter 104. Some schmoopiness before a Not-So-Happy time in RotI.

Disclaimer: Lord of the Rings belongs to JRR Tolkien. I'm just borrowing it for a while.

Helping Hands

"You want me to what?"

Pippin smiled at his wife. "Go for walk. To the orchard."

Ivy narrowed her eyes. "It's dark out! And I can't leave the children, Pippin."

Pippin huffed. "It being dark out is the point, as we'll be looking at the stars. And Bori and Willow are asleep, and Fari is perfectly capable of watching them. Right Fari?" A grunt of agreement came from Fari, curled up on Crickhollow's couch with his nose in a book. "See?" He frowned at his wife. "Are you too tired for a walk?"

"No." She sighed heavily. "Actually, a walk sounds nice. I'm tired of being cooped up in a house." She shifted in her chair and Pippin took her hand to help her up. She stretched her back, wincing at sore muscles, then patted her round belly. "And I think walking puts the baby to sleep, so I can get some sleep!"

Pippin grinned and turned to his son again. "We won't go far, just to the edge of the orchard."

Fari nodded, still not looking up from his book. Pippin sighed. Fari was still put out that he'd had to come with them to Crickhollow rather than staying with Theo and Eomer. He'd been sulking since they left Brandy Hall this morning. But Pippin wanted this to be a family holiday. Two weeks all to themselves, away from relatives and responsibilities. And Ivy needed to get away. Being heavily pregnant in the summer heat was wearing on her, and having responsibilities at Great Smials didn't help. So they'd come up to Crickhollow--Ivy's favorite place.

They went out the back door and Pippin smiled. It had cooled off considerably this evening--perfect for a walk. They followed the path up the slight hill, to where row upon row of apple trees grew in the old orchard, probably almost as old as Brandy Hall. Pippin sat under the nearest one, and leaned back against the gnarled trunk so Ivy could prop herself against him.

He helped her settle between his legs and she lay back. Pippin wrapped his arms around her, his hands automatically moving to caress her belly, and rested his cheek against her head. She didn't bother with braiding her hair while she was away from Great Smials, and he turned his nose into the soft strands. Rose water, mixed with the scent of his wife.

"That group of stars over the house is the eagle, isn't it?" Ivy asked. "The elves call it Soronúmë."

Pippin nodded and sighed, losing himself in the sensations of holding his wife: her scent, her warmth against his body, her hard belly beneath his hands. He nuzzled the tip of her ear.

"I thought we were looking at the stars, Pippin?" she asked, amusement in her voice.

"Changed my mind," he mumbled. He nudged her hair aside with his nose so he could kiss her neck and shoulder.

"Something else in mind, then?" she chuckled. She turned her head to look at him. "I'm sorry, love, but I'm not really up to anything."

"I'm positive you'll be up to this," Pippin said smugly.

She cocked an eyebrow at him. "That good, are you?" she asked, her mouth quirking into a smile.

"I've been told I'm very good," he replied, low and seductive in her ear.

He moved his hands, found the right spots, and worked his fingers expertly. He grinned when he was rewarded with an orgasmic groan from his wife.

"Oh gods, Pippin!" she moaned, her breath gasping. "Oh, that feels so good!"

"Told you I was good," he chuckled.

"You are the best," she sighed. She hissed when he found a particularly sensitive spot. "How did you know I needed this?"

He moved his hands lower and Ivy moaned again. He kissed her shoulder. "You've been rubbing your back lately, and I could feel how tense you were when you leaned against me." His hands moved further down her back, massaging anther knot from her muscles. She leaned forward, legs open to accommodate her large belly, elbows on her knees. Her head dropped and with a sigh she relaxed under his touch.

When he finished, she lay back in his arms again. Her tension was gone and deep breaths came from slightly parted lips. He smiled. He'd seen her like this many times before, though for a different reason. "You'd think I gave you something else," he murmured in her ear. He wished he could have given her more than a massage, but that would have to wait a few months--until after the baby was born and she'd had time to recover.

She touched his cheek. "It certainly felt as nice as that." She giggled and turned her head to kiss his cheek. "Well, almost as good." She took his hand and kissed his palm. "You have very talented hands."

She sighed contentedly and Pippin smiled into her hair. It was the first truly happy sigh he'd heard in weeks. "Glad I could help," he said. He kissed the point of her ear. "Now how about those stars?"

Author's Notes: I wrote this a few months ago and realized I never posted it over here. A little bit of Ivy/Pippin schmoop to keep us going while I bash away at the third story.

I'm still working on The Wanderers (the third Ivyverse story). Sadly, it's going much slower than expected. I'm at about 121,000 words in the first draft--perhaps 3/4 done. No idea when it will be finished--the Muses haven't been cooperating lately. My Beta Reader, JunoMagic, seems to like what she's seen so far, so I hope it's worth the wait.

And in other news, I am proud to say that The Roots of the Ivy got a Third Place in the 2006 MEFAs, for the category of Post-Grey Havens AU!

Thanks for reading!

Aranel Took