by Vik

”Oh, Merry! What have I done?!“ cried Pippin. Merry felt helpless at the miserable look on the younger hobbits face. Gently he put another blanket around Pippin who couldn’t stop shivering.

“Now there Pip! Don’t you worry. You heard what Gandalf said. It was wrong of you to take that cursed ball from him – but nothing evil will come of your doing.”

Pippin closed his eyes. The concerned look on Merry’s face was more than he could bear.
“Fool of a Took – that’s what I am!” it burst out of him. “I am just a burden for all on this journey. Elrond was right, I should have stayed home. All I can do is getting us into trouble. Just remember Moria.”

“Please, Pip! Stop talking like that!” Merry took Pippin’s hand in his. “Yes. I do remember Moria! I remember a very young yet very brave hobbit, who never hesitated fighting a cave troll! And it was you who managed to escape the Uruk-hai to leave a trace for Strider and the others to find us.” He smiled. “ They will sing songs about the valiant Peregrin Took when we return to The Shire.”
Pippin seemed to relax at the words of his cousin. He sighed.

“This time it was different, Merry. Orcs and cave trolls are real. I mean, you can fight them with a sword. But what I saw –“ he was struggling for words now – “what I felt had no form, no body. It just was.” He looked into Merry’s eyes as if to find a safe place there, a light to guide him out of his fears.

“Never was I that frightened before! And helpless … and alone.” He took a deep breath. “ It was as with the Black Riders, you know, at Weathertop – just so much more intense. I…” Pippin couldn’t continue. Merry felt as if he had been pierced by a knife as he noticed the pain in Pippin’s eyes. He hugged him, hold him close as if to give him some of his own warmth and strength through this.
“Oh Pippin. Yes, I know it must been terrible! And I dearly wish I could undo what had happened. But Gandalf said you are, well, your usual self again. Now I don’t say you will easily forget what you’ve been just through, but in time it might become a less frightening memory.”

“ I guess you are right, Merry. As usual.” A faint smile put the light back in Pippin’s eyes. “ Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards! How very true these words are! I think I am cured now, Merry – and I will stick to the affairs of hobbits !” He frowned. “ But I wonder what will happen now?”

“ I think we will know that soon, Pip. The big folk seemed to have finished their council and Gandalf is heading towards us.”