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The Michel Delving Mathom House  by Periantari

Summary: The first time Merry meets Pippin. :) Merry is 8 years old and Pippin is a newborn. :)
A/N - Written for Pipwise for her birthday in October '05. =)
Thank you to Slightlytookish for the beta and Shirebound for her suggestion for the title! =)

A Natural Bond

At first, he did not know what would it mean to have a younger cousin--though the fact of it being a lad did make a slight difference...

Merry looked upon the newborn baby with scrutiny. He was too small. He seemed like a brat being cuddled and cooed to all the time. Being enveloped by baby blue blankets, he was positively tiny amidst the coverings and the arms of his mother. It was gurgling incomprehensible baby sounds and was kicking his little feet all around in the crib.

Quite lively young chap, thought Merry. A baby boy cousin, a difference that would make, but he is so small -- when would he ever grow to do any fun stuff with me?

Merry touched his small tender cheek, and the baby--they had named it Peregrin-- looked up and smiled at Merry.

"Oh how adorable he is, Auntie," said Merry, quite happy to see the baby smile at him.

"I think he likes you... he doesn't smile at people while he is changing. Would you like to hold him after I’m done? But promise, you have to be gentle and careful... Our first son, my, how happy all of us are a son, finally!" Eglantine was cuddling baby Peregrin again, to his delight.

Wow, what a smiley baby... and i thought all babies were stinky and loud and annoying, thought Merry. Merry grinned back. It indeed would be a nice change from having to play with Pearl, Pimpernel, and Pervinca, all the time. How long he could stand dolls and just staying indoors, he could not imagine anymore.

Eglantine gently transferred the baby to Merry's arms. The baby named Peregrin was so light, yet Merry was afraid to drop him. He was so small and seemingly fragile that Merry was afraid to shift around for fear of dropping him.

"Here, sit down upon the chair...I know it is awkward for you, since you probably haven't been around babies very much, gathering that you're an only child and all.”

"Oh there are babies in Brandy Hall, but i've never really held one. They all cry when I hold them, " Merry replied, looking at the baby’s tiny fingers. Merry breathed in the fresh scent of soap and milk. And I thought that all babies smelled bad, he thought.

Pippin's bright green eyes stared up at his older cousin with blondish brown curls, curiosity abounding upon who this stranger was. But he did not utter anything and lay in Merry’s arms quite relaxed.

"Say my little baby... MERRY... M-E-R-R-Y," Merry said to his little cousin.

"He's only a newborn, Merry! Pippin doesn't even know how to say 'ma', how could he say YOUR name," Eglantine laughed. “Before you know it though, he'll be tramping through the woods with you ... but now, as a babe, just need to feed him, burp him, and let him sleep good long naps."

"Pippin is his nickname? How funny it would be to always have to call him 'Peregrin'." Merry giggled at the thought. "I think he’s getting sleepier... aw, no fun..I wanted to see his cute eyes open again," Merry said as the little eyelids of baby Pippin were slowly closing.

"Awww, he's so cute-- cute baby... I don't know, but girl babies aren't as cute and they don't like me as much," Merry said as Eglantine gently took back her sleeping newborn.

"I think you have a natural bond with Pippin, for he doesn't smile or let anyone hold him as long as you did," replied Eglantine. "Come often Merry.. come help me take care of this young'un," Eglantine smiled at Merry and then at the little newborn son, who was as precious to her as her own life itself. His cherubic face with full cheeks and brown curls looked almost angelic but there was a spark in his eyes that made young Merry think that this Took was somehow special in some way.

“Peregrin– what does that mean?” asked Merry, still attentive and wondering about the baby.

“Peregrine with an ‘e’ is a type of bird... a wandering bird, I believe,” replied Eglantine. “I haven’t seen any for quite some time though... many say they have flown away to the West.”

“Well, I hope Pippin doesn’t fly away— that will be no fun. I think I should train him to be a real hobbit lad,” Merry grinned mischievously.

“What are you thinking, dear one... what are you going to do with my dear son,” Eglantine smiled and glanced at her eight-year old nephew with fondness. Merry was her favorite nephew and he was always cheerful and a good lad. She knew that he would act like an older brother to Pippin. Her girls and Paladin all liked Merry’s company whenever he visited Tookland.

“Nothing... I’m just kidding, Auntie. Don’t always take me seriously,” replied Merry still glancing over the crib over the sleeping newborn. “Will he grow quickly? It’s no fun to watch him sleep all day...”

“All in good time, Merry, all in good time. For now I just feel incredibly blessed to have him and for you to be here.” Eglantine put her arm around Merry while gently tucking in the blanket snugly across the sleeping baby’s chest. Eglantine then turned away and went to the other room, leaving Merry with Pippin.

Whispering to Pippin while gently stroking his pudgy cheeks, Merry whispered, “I’m going to look after you and train you to be my best playmate I could ever have... so glad you’re a lad, Pip... so glad.”


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