by Avondster
A Hobbits in the Closet story.

It was still spectacularly early in the morning when the telephone rang at Mara’s house.

Merry and Pippin, asleep in their closet, pulled their blankets over their heads to avoid waking, but it happened anyway due to the frantic scuffling for the phone that ensued outside, and next Mara’s voice ringing out shakily, but very clearly, considering it was so early and she was not and would never be a morning person.

“Yes,” they heard her say. “Yes, that would be fine. No, that’s no problem. Great! Thank you ever so much! I’ll see you then!”

The phone was hung up, and immediately after sleep turned out to be impossible even for Pippin, when Mara’s delighted whoop reached his ears.

Merry stuck his head around the door to see their landlady dancing and leaping through the small room like Tom Bombadil after too much sugar. Her face was shining with happiness and he smiled, though he didn’t know what was the matter yet.

Before he could ask, however, Mara had grabbed her jacket and bounced out the door, kissing him on the top of his head in passing. Merry just shook his head and went to look for some breakfast and perhaps a pail of cold water to throw over Pippin.

It was only late that afternoon that their landlady returned, holding a notebook in one hand and a large amount of folded cardboard boxes under her arms. On her wrist hung a shopping bag full of groceries, of which Pippin most gentlemanly relieved her.

“What’d you buy?” he asked, burrowing into the bag. “Ooh, cake! And toffees and crisps, and… oh! Merry! She got us mushrooms!”

Merry frowned. “You don’t even like mushrooms, Mara.”

“I know,” she said. “They’re for you, of course. I thought you’d like them.” She put the boxes down on the floor and began unfolding them, putting her notebook on the table.

“So does this mean you have something to celebrate, or something to make up to us?” asked Pippin shrewdly. Mara ducked her head and didn’t answer.

Merry, meanwhile, had snatched the notebook from the table. Most of Mara’s notebooks were for stories, and most of her stories were about him anyway, so he figured he had every right to read it. He was her Muse, after all. But this was not a story, or even a poem.

“A shopping list, in one of your precious notebooks? A strange one, though… wall-paint, hanging and standing lamps, larger bed, refrigerator, washing machine…”

“But Mara,” laughed Pippin, “those things are all way too big for this one room! We can barely move around here as it is! How silly of you not to think about that.”

But Merry’s eyebrows had lowered, and he looked at Mara accusingly. “So that’s why you were in such a good mood, why you bought all those things, why you’ve got those boxes! You’re moving out, aren’t you?”

Mara looked up at him apologetically, and nodded. Pippin dropped the mushrooms.

“You’re leaving?” he squeaked, his eyes filling with tears. “You can’t leave here! Please don’t go, Mara, please!”

“I have to, Pip,” said Mara. “I’m signing the contract on Tuesday. Like you said, this room is so small… and I got this great deal for a flat, it’s so big and wonderful and only fifteen minutes away.”

“But you’re still leaving,” said Merry flatly. “And after all we’ve been through together here, after all we’ve done for you…” He turned away from her, trying to hide his tears.

“But…” said Mara, reaching for him, “but… oh!” And she burst out laughing.

Merry turned back furiously. “What’s there to laugh about?”

“You two!” laughed Mara. “Did you actually think I was talking about leaving you? Of course I wouldn’t, not ever! I’m taking you with me, naturally! Home would not be home without having my hobbitlads with me!”

She held out her arms and hugged one Hobbit with each arm. “You silly lads,” she whispered, holding them close and kissing Merry’s forehead. “And you! Do you honestly think I could ever live without you, Merry-my-knight?”

Merry hastily wiped his face on his sleeve, muttering. “Of course not… the very idea… preposterous… never even crossed my mind…” Mara laughed and kissed him again.

Pippin rolled his eyes and tugged on Mara’s arm. “Can we take our closet?”

Mara grimaced. “I’m afraid not, Pippin. That closet was only borrowed in the first place, you know, and I’ll have to give it back. But I’ll tell you something else. Do you know how many closets I’ll have in the new flat? Seven! Plus I’ll have three bedrooms, so you can even have a whole room to yourselves if you like, and when one of our friends comes to stay over we can have them, too!”

“Legolas’ll like that,” said Pippin. “I can’t imagine sleeping while standing up in your broomstick cupboard is very comfortable, even for an Elf.”

“And when Boromir comes over from Lin’s he won’t have to sleep under your bed anymore either,” said Merry. “Of course he says that Men of Gondor are resilient and all that, but I suspect he finds the dustbunnies there very intimidating.”

“So that’s settled, then?” asked Mara. “You’re coming with me?”

“You’d have to send us home tied up in a sack to stop us,” said Merry, grinning.

“I will miss this place, though,” said Pippin, looking round. “It may be small, but this is where you found the Boards and where we first came to you, and where you wrote your first story.”

“And where you fell hopelessly in love with my wonderful character,” said Merry smugly. Pippin rolled his eyes again.

“I won’t deny any of that,” laughed Mara, reaching for the first box and beginning to put her books in it carefully, one by one. Merry and Pippin both followed her example.

Soon they were all engrossed in their task, handling each book, each item, like the memory it was; with love, care and devotion.

“This is what Frodo must have felt like,” said Merry after a while. “Leaving the old and familiar home, to move on to bigger and better things.”

“Only we’re taking a whole lot more things,” said Pippin. “Imagine if he’d taken all his books like you do, Mara! Good heavens, the ship would never have stayed afloat!”

“And he never got to take you with him,” said Mara softly. “But we’re not leaving forever, never to be seen again.”

“Speaking of Frodo,” said Pippin, only half-listening, “he’s coming over for a slumber party next week, by the way. Oh, Merry, we should ring him and tell him the new address, or he’ll stand at the door with his sleeping bag and pajamas and teddy, and no one will open, and he will look very silly indeed.”

Merry jumped up and grabbed Mara’s telephone book to look up the names of all the ladies Frodo might currently be living with. Trying to get a hold of him was always a great battle. Good thing I only have one ladylove to be living with, Merry thought, winking at Mara.

Mara winked back at Merry, then ruffled Pippin’s hair, and laughed out of simple delight. “Oh, lads. We will never be truly leaving home, you know. Because home is where the heart is, and my heart is with you.”