(Welcome to my second LOTRs fic, I'm a Took at heart so I always write about them. Unlike my last fic, this takes place after the LOTRs, so it will contain spoilers. Like: Merry and Pippin live - if you didn't get that from the summary, then you are stupid.)
(last night we were) the delicious wolves
Chapter Two: jealous of your cigarette
It was true that Diamond Took never had a warm place in Master Meriadoc's heart. What Peregrin Took, her husband of five and a half years and life long friend, saw in her was a thing Merry never understood. Perhaps he could see that Pippin liked her for her shining chocolate brown hair, fair complexion and deep green eyes. Or maybe it was because, no matter how he despised her, she was smart and made good conversation. Merry didn't really see it, personally.
It had been nearly fourteen years since the four hobbits, Frodo Baggins son of Drogo, Samwise Gamgee son of Hamfast the Gaffer, Peregrin Took, son of Paladin and Meriadoc Brandybuck son of Saradoc returned from a quest thought by most inhabitants of Middle-Earth to be the most courageous and important quest in their lifetime - though no one in the Shire really understood that it had happened.
Things had almost gone back to normal. Frodo had become mayor, Sam had finally married Rosie Cotton and Merry and Pippin were always seen wearing their armour of Rohan and Gondor and lived together in Crickhollow... for awhile. Frodo had left for the Grey Havens in 1421, and the three remaining hobbits couldn't remember a more bitter parting.
And now? Now Meriadoc lived once more in Buckland, as he had since Peregrin wed Diamond. He was of course now Master Meriadoc for Saradoc had passed away earlier that year. Many gifts had been sent to him from the Lady Éowyn in Ithilien, but they brought little joy to his heart... and whatever joy he had had now seemed to be quailed by the despicable Diamond Took- a hobbit undeserving of her name.
"He left yesterday morning while we were in Stock, said he'd be back by night or the morning at the latest. I'm sorry to bother you, but you are his best friend."
Best friend? Merry thought to himself bitterly. I've barely spoken to him since you married him.
"Do you think he's alright?"
"Peregrin?" No, he thought. I think he's insane.
"Yes of course! Something must have happened. Oh Merry you have to help me!"
Merry tensed at being called his nickname by her. Why had he even invited her in for tea? Of course it wasn't the hobbit way to send someone off when they've come for a visit, but he probably could have come up with an excuse. "Oh hello Diamond, sorry, I'm in the middle of something extremely important. Go away and for pity's sake - never come back!" No, of course that couldn't have worked.
"Where's Faramir?" Merry was asking where Pippin's 2-year-old son was.
"Faramir? Oh Merry, do you understand what I'm saying? Pippin has been missing for a day. It's unlike him!"
"Maybe he just couldn't be bothered to leave the Prancing Pony so soon..." Merry muttered to himself, thinking over what Diamond was telling to him. It was possible that Pippin might be hurt somewhere. Half of him wanted to jump up, grab his sword and dash off on a pony to find Pippin, and the other half was too angry at Diamond, at Pippin, at himself and couldn't be bothered to leave home.
"His pony returned riderless this afternoon. You have to help me find him."
Merry looked at her, trying to hide his concern. "You mean you want me to find him for you, isn't that it?"
"Meriadoc Brandybuck. I know you seem to have ill feelings towards me, but will you stop being so stubborn and think about Pippin for a moment!"
"I think about Pippin-" every second of every day. Merry cut himself off. "Where was he heading to?"
"In the middle of winter!?!"
"I doubt he knew there was going to be a snowstorm, when it struck he must have been near or on the East Road... Oh Merry I'm so worried. I know you-"
Merry stood up from the table with a start, nearly knocking over their untouched tea cups. "You know nothing about me Diamond of Long Cleeve. Now I must take my leave of you because my... friend needs my assistance. Good day!" Then he stormed out of the room, leaving Diamond confused because she didn't know whether or not to be happy or angry.
Diamond hadn't wanted to go to Merry for assistance, for obvious reasons, but when the snow storm had hit the night before and then Pippin still hadn't returned, she didn't know who else to share her concerns with. She thought of going to Sam for help, and while that seemed a good idea, as soon as she stepped out of the door she knew Merry was the best person to go to for help. Not only was Merry just across the river, he was his best friend, well, at least Pippin referred to him as his best friend, but she new they never spoke anymore. A mystery to most.
"I'll let myself out," she said to herself and left to return to Stock, where she was staying with some cousins.
The uniform of Rohan hung as it had these past five and a half years in his closet. Meriadoc Brandybuck, Knight of Rohan. It seemed a distant dream to look on the red cape and shirt, with a small shirt of mail beneath and a sword of the Riddermark. It seemed like ages since he was given this, and perhaps it had only been a dream. He hadn't worn it since Pippin's wedding. That morning it was like he was preparing for battle and he rode to the field where they were wed and watched from afar, knowing that Pippin was getting married because of him.
He had wanted to ride away to Rohan, perhaps he had meant to. But he couldn't stand the thought of being taken away from his friend again, and he knew that he couldn't abandon his new wife who waited patiently for him at Brandy hall. He had wanted to run away from life, but it seemed to have tied him down.
"What are you doing?" The voice of Estella Brandybuck floated into the room.
"I'm going out." Merry said sternly, strapping on his sword. "I might not be back until tomorrow, or possibly even later."
"Who goes out at nightfall?"
"What was Diamond doing here? And where's she going? You should have asked her to stay the night."
Merry looked at his wife with disdain. Whatever his feelings were of Diamond, they were double towards Estella. It was cruel that he had married her, for her part.
"She's been staying with her cousins in Stock, I'm not going to be here tonight."
"Are you off to see another girl?"
Merry laughed. "I'm going to find Pippin!"
"Oh Pippin, much better," Estella said between clenched teeth. "Have you lost him?"
"No, it seems Diamond has." Merry took his cloak and looked at his wife. "I think Pippin's in trouble."
"And why do you have to go look for him? What if it snows again? And what about the wolves?"
Merry unsheathed his sword.
"You don't need to worry about me, you know that."
"What makes you think I've ever worried about you?"
"Yes, one has to care for that."
"I do care! It's you who-!" Estella stopped herself and took a deep breath. "Never mind."
"Goodbye, I must go speak with Pippin," then Merry began to walk out of the door.
"Speak with Pippin, speak with Pippin. Why are you going to speak with Pippin? You haven't spoken in over five years."
Merry turned around. "Because we haven't spoken in over five years." Then Merry had left the room.
It was when Merry left his house and the cold of winter hit his face that he realised he had reason to fear for Pippin. The snow, the wind, the wolves and Pippin's unfortunate tendency to find trouble. It was a fact that Pippin had spent most of his life in trouble, whether it was with his parents, the neighbours, Gandalf or - and Merry cringed at the memory - with Sauron. Yet Pippin did always manage to find his out of this trouble.
Despite that, Merry was a little worried. His heart quailed with the thought of Pippin being hurt, and he felt deep down that Pippin was.
Looking around the snowy landscape he was a little worried, because despite Diamond giving him Pippin's exact location, he had no clue where to find him. He could be anywhere.
"Well Master Meriadoc... You're no tracker like Strider, but you've always found Pippin before." He sighed. "Follow your heart..."
There were no tracks he could find that belonged to Pippin, in fact there were no tracks he could find at all. There was snow, more snow than usually seen in the Shire and it seemed a terribly evil omen. He knew it was winters like this that brought the starving wolves forth, not even the Rangers could always keep them back.
He imagined that Pippin had taken the road from Stock north to the Brandywine bridge where he had then turned towards Bree on the East Road. He nearly raced to the East Road as the sun completely set, but once there he went slowly along the road to Bree, keeping a ear open for wolves and an eye open for tracks. He wished he could find a Ranger to help him and it wasn't before long that his thoughts turned to Strider, or rather King Elessar in the south. He wanted very badly to see him once more.
It wasn't before too long when Merry realised that he had wandered off the road, having let the pony wander freely without thinking about it. He was now heading south towards the Old Forest, a place of good and terrible memories all at once. He was going to turn around and make his way back to the road - if he could find it in the dark - but he stopped and looked around hearing a deafening silence.
Follow your heart, he thought. "I can always go back to the road."
He continued on through the scattered woods in the pitch black night. He wanted to light a torch, but the thought of something seeing him made him change his mind. Of course it also made him wonder if he might not miss Pippin. He thought to stop for the night and wait until the morning to continue looking for him. But he simply could not stop with the thought of Pippin huddled all alone in the cold.
"I'm a stupid, stupid hobbit," he said, trying desperately to peer through the night and wishing he had brought another cloak, his elven cloak sprang to mind. Why hadn't he taken that one? Why had Pippin been traveling to Bree? Why was he out looking for him? Too many questions suddenly plagued his mind.
Merry stopped his pony and closed his eyes. This was hopeless. Even if Pippin was out in this forest, what was the chance that he'd find him? Pippin was probably in Bree already. No... Merry knew in his heart that it wasn't so. Pippin was in this forest, and he might be badly hurt. Marry took out a torch he had brought and lit it with his tinder box.
The heat hit him instantly and it seemed to warm his heart as he continued through the still darkening forest. The trees began to close in around him and all hope of finding Pippin seemed to disappear. And then he heard the sound of growling.
Wolves. Merry thought. His hand went instantly to his sword's hilt. "Pippin!" Merry called out, and then a figure jumped on him. It was a wolf.
Before the wolf could sink its teeth into him, Merry had his sword out and slashed at it, it yelped and backed up. Merry held the torch up, and saw eyes glinting at him through the darkness.
"Come at me!" The wolves obeyed and began to attack, but none were quick enough for the large hobbit, and they soon realized this and ran off. "Cowards..." Merry muttered to himself, and saw with some dismay that his left hand had been bitten, thought the bite was not deep.
The pony had run off, and Merry hoped it would find its way safely home, then Merry continued on. The journey wasn't a long one and soon Merry found the wolves small cave. He approached it, waiting for the wolves to jump out at him, but none came and he knew they were all out, so he entered and felt his heart stop.
There, sprawled out on the cave floor in ripped clothing was the lifeless form Peregrin Took.
(Yay cliffhanger! The general idea of this story came to me years ago, and I began writing this lovely little story about Merry and Pippin and the difficulties of their relationship, and the more I wrote the farther away I got from the time line. When I read the time line and saw how off it was - e.g., Strider showed up a good ten years too soon - I decided that the story was hopeless. I also had no clue where to go from a certain point. This story, which is in every right a continuation of that story, seeing the old one took place when Merry and Pippin first got married, was brought to life when I told my theories to my sister Sony_Mouse and we started going back and forth and thinking of a further plot. I started writing it while listening to my Hawksley Workman CD, and it dawned on my that the songs seemed to follow my story pretty well, and it also helped me finally find the ending to my story. So that's why all the tittles are so strange, each chapter is a song off the album - (last night we were) the delicious wolves. Chapter one by the by, 'striptease', would be what I wrote before and you will never read because well... it was just a means to an end. I shall call you CDFic, and you shall be mine, and you shall be my CDFic. Well, listen to the album and read the story and I hope you like my strange tale of love and woe)
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.