A/N: Well, folks, here it is. The end. Oh my goodness, I can't believe I finally finished it! It has been fun, and all of you reviewers have been extremely kind to me! Thank you so much to demeter d, Tomoshibi-Chan, Really Cinderella, echobaby, Nim, PunkmutantGargoyleChica, LadyDoroAnne, Verity Kindle, Eruanna Undomiel (who gave me the idea for "For the Thain"), Karm Starkiller, Isabeau Jones, InkWeaverabc, Sauron Gorthaur (whose reviews were some of the most helpful) Christina Conlon, Sarahbarr17, Jen Lewis, A Cloud Floater's Daughter, LucyOfNArnia, Distant Lands, Lucy Kay, Wing Commander Arnicia Vinyaya, Jaki Fidelia, owlcity89, Kamai6, Lizzyfaye, Noelle1230, and last, but certainly not least, Heidi Erickson.
Nine months. Had they really gone for nine months without having a huge fight? If Estella was doing her math correctly, they had. That had to be a record. When they were first married, Pippin and Freddy had bet on how long it would be before they fought. They had held out for three months before Merry set her off by complaining about the way she made mashed potatoes. Most of their fights were over something silly like that.
Four years and a son and daughter later, they would still argue over silly things.
This time, it had been the Crickhollow house. Estella had asked Merry if he and Pippin ever planned on selling the old place. His response had been that they did not want to because it was a nice place to go if either family wanted to get away for a little while. Estella had told him that they hadn't been there since Ivy was born, and he replied with a question, asking her if she would like to go and stay there for a few days. Suddenly, their discussion was very loud and very defensive on both ends. It ended in Merry not being allowed in the master bedroom for two days.
It was the third afternoon since the argument, and Estella had cooled down and was ready to make up with him. Contrary to popular belief, she really did not enjoy fighting with him, especially with their children around. She wanted to set a good example for them.
Now, she sat in her favorite chair with her cat in her lap and her favorite book in her hands, relishing the time to herself. She had barely read three words when she saw her husband enter the room. It was strange, she thought, that he didn't look ill at ease or nervous.
Normally, just before they made up, he was walking on eggshells, trying not to set her off in any way. Now he looked smug and confident. Something in the back of Estella's mind told her that was not a good sign.
He smiled at her, and she allowed herself a small smile in return, letting him know she was finished arguing, but aware that he had something up his sleeve. She watched him carefully as he walked over to her and drew out a sheet of paper. Clearing his throat, he began to read:
My dearest Merry,
If you were home, there would be no need for me to write this letter, but you are not, so write I must. I'd really rather you didn't travel when you don't have to. The children miss you, and so do I.
Estella felt the blood drain from her face. She had recognized the letter from the first few words. She had written it two weeks ago when he and Pippin had gone away on a short venture to meet some dwarf friends of theirs. "No, stop, don't read anymore," she told him.
"Oh, why? You don't want me to read aloud about how 'desperately' you miss me, and how much you want me to come home?"
"No, I don't. Give it here, Merry."
"Aw, Stella, is that any way to talk to the lad that you're 'head over heels for?' You know, the one that 'makes your heart pound' and 'whose kisses are addictive'?"
"Merry!" she exclaimed, horribly embarrassed and glad none of the servants were around to hear.
"And you call me a sentimental, romantic fool. Really, Stella!"
"I… you… You'd been gone for three days! I wanted you home with me."
"You never finished your sappy outpouring of love for me," he informed her, showing her the incomplete sentence that said she had a secret to tell him. "And I'd like to know what it is you're hiding from me."
"I'm not hiding anything from you. I just have something to tell you, and I've been waiting for the right time."
He grinned and hugged her. "You're pregnant again, aren't you?"
She sighed, disappointed. "Yes. How'd you guess?"
He set her back a pace and looked at her as though it should have been obvious. "Darling, three days ago you got up in the middle of the night to get yourself some trout and strawberries. You hate trout, and we both know that."
"Why do you have to be right about everything?"
"Because I am wonderful." He kissed the top of her head, not missing her eye rolling. "Estella, I'm sorry we fought. If you really want me to talk to Pip about selling the Crickhollow place, then I will. And would you forgive me for calling you bullheaded?"
She nodded and cuddled up to him. "Yes, I forgive you. I'm sorry too; you were right. We do use it sometimes, and it is a nice little house. With three children, I'll bet we'll be tripping over our own feet to get away every now and then. And I'm sorry I said you were stupid."
"You're forgiven, darling."
"We're having a baby and we just made up. Are going to kiss me or not?"
"Of course I am."
A/N: Yes, the last bit was inspired by Thomphson Square's "Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not?" I love that song, and it sorta reminds me of my Merry and Estella whenever I hear it. Well mates, it's been fun, but now I have to get to work on a Pippin/Diamond story for you! I hope to hear from all of you in reviews for that story as well! Bye bye now, and thank you once again for sticking with me through all of this!