West of the Moon
A Tolkien Fanfiction Archive
Whispers in the Dark
Co-authored by Marigold Cotton. In Fangorn Forest, Merry and Pippin have a necessary conversation, and make an important decision.
Author: Slightly Tookish
Not long after they had settled down to sleep, Merry came slowly awake. Sensing that Pippin was awake too, he turned over in the sweet-smelling fern to see his friend watching him in the dim light.
"Pippin? Why aren't you sleeping? You must be exhausted, love. Are you in pain?"
Pippin shook his head. "No. No Merry, I'm all right. I just wanted to watch you sleep, to feel you breathe and know that you are alive. I came so close to losing you, I almost can't believe that you're still here with me."
Merry placed his hand over Pippin's in reassurance. "That I am here is all thanks to you, Pippin. You're the one that saved us both. Have I pointed out that you're the best, the cleverest and bravest, not to mention the handsomest hobbit in all the Shire?" He gave Pippin's furrowed brow a silly, smacky kiss and smiled inwardly to see Pippin grin, the care and worry fade.
Pippin laughed and wiped his forehead vigorously. "Silly Merry. That's you you're talking about."
Merry made a show of looking Pippin over, then teased, "No, Pippin, it's definitely you."
Pippin grinned at Merry impudently. "We'll take turns being amazing then, shall we?"
They both laughed softly, and Merry pulled Pippin closer, and they snuggled deeper into the fern. Pippin had something he wanted to say, Merry could tell, but it was several moments before Pippin spoke, and when he did it was in the barest whisper.
"I was thinking, Merry. About what we talked about in Lothlórien. What we decided."
"Yes. Maybe we're wrong. Maybe we shouldn't wait. What if one of us dies Merry, and we haven't been together?"
Merry considered carefully before answering. "Pippin, there has always been a chance that one of us might die on this journey; it is a risk that we have faced every day since we set out with Frodo. But you deserve so much more than a hurried tumble in the dark, both of us ill at ease and exhausted, with eyes all around." He glanced towards the arch, where Treebeard stood motionless, outlined with stars and ostensibly sleeping, then back at Pippin. He lowered his voice, just in case the Ent wasn't as asleep as he appeared. How could he know, after all?
"I want us to be able to take our time, to enjoy each other. I want to be able to see your face as you come undone and know that I am the cause of your pleasure, and for you to see that you are the cause of mine. I want us to be able to cry each other's names aloud and not hold anything back for fear that we are not alone."
Pippin sighed. "I want that for us too, love. I do. But if that time never comes, and we never get our chance..."
"Pippin, I couldn't possibly love you more than I do now, and even if we never get to experience that together it won't change how I feel about you. I want to be with you desperately, Pippin, but our love will never be lessened, no matter what happens. Or doesn't happen." He tilted Pippin's head up, and kissed him softly. Pippin rolled on top and kissed him back, a little less softly, and after several long moments they reluctantly pulled apart.
Pippin sighed again. "You're right, Merry, I know you are, in my heart. But there are other bits of me that just don't agree."
Merry laughed. "I think that we had best talk about something else for a little, or I am not going to be able to get a wink of sleep tonight for thinking of you. And your various 'bits.'"
For a moment Pippin gazed down at him wickedly, succeeding in making Merry blush, but then he settled back into the fern. "All right," he said agreeably. He looked over at Merry seriously, all hint of mirth and teasing gone. "There is something else that I was thinking about, but it's not nearly so pleasant a subject."
"What is it?"
Pippin reached up and carefully traced the nearly healed cut upon Merry's brow. He didn't have to say what he needed to know, Merry understood. For that brief time, Merry had been alone, and Pippin needed to know what had befallen him. Merry had felt the same about the time that he had himself been unconscious, and while they had made their way towards Fangorn he had insisted that Pippin tell him all that had happened with the orcs before Uglúk had revived him. Merry didn't really want to talk about this, there in the dark, but he understood that Pippin would worry himself silly until he knew. He sighed.
"Well, that's a change of subject all right. You have quite dampened my ardour."
"I know. It's all right." He propped himself on an elbow and looked down at Pippin. "What is the last thing that you remember?"
Pippin took Merry's other hand, and held it tightly. "I remember we were disarmed, and Uglúk was furious with you...you were so brave, Merry, fighting them! I thought that he was going to hurt you, and I remember struggling to get free. I was so afraid for you, I had to try though I know there was nothing that I could have done." Merry squeezed his hand fiercely in gratitude. Pippin took a deep breath and continued, "And I remember Boromir crying out just then. I looked over at him...he was plucking at an arrow in his chest, trying to get up, to come to help us, wounded as he was."
Pippin's voice broke and he began to sob quietly, and tears came to Merry's own eyes. He lay down again and put both arms around Pippin, pulling him close. He murmured nonsense and endearments until Pippin quieted, and then said, "We will never forget him, Pippin, not ever."
Pippin mastered himself. "No, we won't." He sniffed, then continued, "That is the last thing that I remember, until I woke up in the orc camp. Now, what of you, Merry?"
"I saw you try to rush forward, and an orc struck you from behind and you fell. He had a cruel looking knife in his hand, and I didn't know whether he'd struck you with the blade...I lost myself when I saw you fall. I didn't...didn't know if..." He took a steadying breath and tried again. "I didn't know if you were alive, Pippin."
"I thought...perhaps you weren't. I don't remember much save my fear that I had lost you, and fury towards the brute that had struck you down. I quite lost my head. I broke free somehow, and I remember snatching up an orc blade from the ground and stabbing and slicing with it, trying to get to where you lay, but I never made it that far.
"Next thing I knew I was waking up in the orc camp, and there you were, the most welcome sight I had ever seen, and I nearly burst into tears, though I am not sure if it was from relief that you were still alive, or fear of what might yet happen to you. But mostly I was so glad that you were with me, Pippin...I can face anything if you are with me."
Pippin smiled. "I was glad that you were there with me Merry, though I was terribly worried about you too, and your poor head. I didn't know what had happened to you and I needed to." He put his hand over Merry's and placed it over his own heart. "But remember Merry-my-own, that even if we are separated, whether it be by distance or death, you and I will never be apart."
Merry nodded solemnly, and for long moments they lay together quietly, hearts and limbs entwined, till Merry spoke once more.
"Pippin. Do you ever wonder what it will be like, when we...when we are one? I can't imagine being any closer to you than I am now. You are already half of my heart."
The light of the flickering stars glittered in Pippin's eyes and Merry caught his breath at the love that he saw there.
Pippin reached over and stroked Merry's cheek. "Sometimes I see your face above me, and you're inside me, and you are so beautiful. You look down on me with such joy and pleasure and love that I can't believe that I am the cause, but you let me know that I am with every movement, every sound, every touch. I don't know if it is the Sight, or my heart's desire, but you are lovely Merry, lost in your passion, lost inside me, and I feel my heart will burst with the perfection of it. Oh my Merry, I want that to be, so very badly."
For several long moments Merry was silent, so touched by Pippin's words that all speech and thought failed him. At last he spoke.
"Pippin? I think that I've changed my mind about waiting."
Laughing fondly, Pippin leaned over and kissed Merry's nose. "Well, that is a shame, because I'm afraid it's all been settled and you simply must wait. And so must I." Though he continued to smile, his eyes grew unusually dark and serious. "You've promised me too much, you see, and I couldn't possibly let the chance of sharing something so wonderful with you slip away."
Merry smiled and leaned in for a gentle, lingering kiss. "You're right, love," he said some time later, pulling away while he still could. "Shall we try and get some rest, then? It will soon be morning, and you haven't slept a bit."
It seemed that Pippin would protest, but in truth he was growing sleepy and he had to fight back a yawn. "I'll sleep well enough if I have your arms around me," he said, grinning cheekily, though he was clearly very tired.
"Perhaps that may be arranged," Merry agreed, and they burrowed deeper into the fern. Pippin wriggled about, yawning hugely as he carefully arranged their limbs while Merry looked on in amusement. At last Pippin stilled, resting his head on Merry's shoulder, and sighed contentedly.
"Good night, love," he said, drowsily tilting back his head and dropping a kiss on the underside of Merry's jaw.
"Sleep well, my dear," Merry whispered, settling his hand on Pippin's back and gently rubbing soothing circles there. When at last Pippin fell asleep, Merry allowed his own eyes to close against the dark sky, and he smiled as his mind drifted toward pleasant dreams of a little house and a garden, and Pippin at his side.
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