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Scribblings  by Baylor

Pippin was sucking his thumb in his sleep. Frodo had not seen his youngest cousin do this in at least a decade (and he had been too old for it then, as well), and it troubled him greatly. Merry had brushed it off, but then Merry was also not protesting Pippin sleeping in his room, with him in his bed, something Pippin had not sought out since childhood. Sam gave Frodo the most reassuring answer: that Pippin had been such a brave lad at Weathertop, and at the Fords, but he was still a lad nonetheless, and if sucking his thumb comforted him, well, it wasn’t hurting anything, now was it?
Sam-Frodo-Pippin-Merry is how they always slept, though when Merry was on watch, Frodo would put Pippin between him and Sam. This annoyed Sam to no end (when would Mr. Frodo and Mr. Merry finally stop babying that lad?), but he knew better than to breathe a word of dissent to his master when it came to his youngest cousin. Pippin smirked at Sam on these nights as he nestled down in between the gardener and his master. Sam would scowl, and if his elbows and knees were a bit more forceful than they were when it was Frodo beside him, well, then, Master Pippin could just be quiet about it, or move.
It was so very cold beneath the mountain, and the rock floor was so very hard and unyielding. Exhaustion gave them sleep, but sleep gave them sore necks and bruised backs and chilled them to their marrow. Frodo and Pippin were so weary that they would fall asleep before they had even eaten, and Sam and Merry, nearly as tired themselves, would have to wake them for dinner. Each of them would later recall the long, dark march with a dreamlike, surreal quality, turning into a nightmare of flame and shadow in the end.
Though still winter, it was not cold in Lothlórien, and their beds were comfortable. Still, the hobbits had immediately turned four neat little bedding arrangements into one large nest and ensconced themselves, lined up as tightly together as need for air would allow. Waking safety allowed nighttime horrors to come out and play, and Aragorn heard each of them wake from nightmares at one point or another. And once, only once, he spied Frodo silently crying, his body wracked with sobs as he buried his face in Pippin’s curls. Merry and Pippin slept on, but Sam stirred and tenderly wrapped his arms about his master without a word.
“Where did you go?” Pippin demanded, looking like a small, disgruntled bird sitting up in Treebeard’s nest of fern and twig.

“I had to pee. Forgive me for not waking you for permission, cousin,” Merry groused back. He allowed Pippin to plaster himself to him and petted his cousin’s hair until Pippin dropped back to sleep.

Carted by orcs clear across Rohan, bound hand and foot most of the way, with Merry injured and unable to help for much of it, and Pippin as mature and filled with common sense as any Brandybuck the whole time. But now, safe and whole and together, and he was suddenly afraid to let Merry out of his sight for five minutes.

“Tween-agers,” Merry muttered, and went back to sleep.
Helm’s Deep
Merry’s muscles were actually twitching with exhaustion, but he lay awake for some time, curled onto his side, Gimli’s reassuring, solid presence at his back. He envied the dwarf’s ability to go almost immediately to sleep, under any circumstances. Merry hunched into himself a little more, and restrained his hands from groping out, from seeking what was not there. Finally, Legolas came and lay down on Merry’s other side.

“Merry,” the elf whispered, gently touching his curls. “Gandalf will not suffer a hair on Pippin’s head to be harmed. By anyone other than himself, that is.”

“I know,” Merry whispered back, and finally slept.
Minas Tirith
Pippin dreamed that he and Merry had been caught by Bilbo in the beer kegs at Bag End (it had been Frodo who caught them in reality, and Pippin still in his teens) and as punishment, they had to hide very quietly under a tree root at the side of the road. He twisted himself in his sheets and shuddered as he felt something evil approach, his hands suddenly trembling and burning with the memory of smooth glass. He cried out and jerked back as large hands scooped him up, but then Gandalf patted his back reassuringly.

“Enough of that,” the wizard said firmly. “You are keeping me awake with your unrest. If you are going to dream about beer kegs, try remembering that birthday of Frodo’s when poor Fredegar got trapped behind them.”

“All right,” Pippin agreed, and when he slept again, his dreams were merry.
The Houses of Healing
Merry could not sleep here, and lay awake in dark agony, alone. His mind would careen along in wide circles, ever narrowing, until it was pared down to three words, over and over: PippinFrodoSam, PippinFrodoSam, PippinFrodoSam. He did not protest when the healers began pressing sleeping draughts upon him, for then at least he had a brief respite. The draughts left him dreamless and unaware, though in the mornings he was sluggish and could not order his mind properly until midday.

Of all the horrors that year entailed, he would remember this as the blackest hour, this lonely, endless waiting from which there was no escape, during which his worst fears seemed close enough to grasp.
Minas Tirith
Frodo was sound asleep when a familiar body snuggled up against him. He reached out an arm and nestled it around slim shoulders, remembering when this knight of Gondor had been small enough to sleep curled up on Frodo’s chest.

“All right, dearest?” he asked with a yawn.

“Yes,” Pippin whispered. “I just needed to be sure of you.”
This time, it was Merry who suddenly found he could not sleep even a room away from Pippin. It was too far, after a year spent within arm’s reach of one another, and he would startle awake with the horrific thought that he was still in the Houses of Healing, waiting for the final blow to fall. In the daylight, Merry felt tall and strong and gloriously happy to be alive, but sometimes in the dark, half-awake, it was difficult to discern the shadows of nightfall from the ones of memory. Pippin did not object when his cousin appeared in his bed night after night, but after Merry had managed to fall asleep, Pip’s face would crinkle in worry.
The Great Smials
Pippin was too big for his old bed, he realized with distress. He loved this bed, and since childhood, it had been an inviting, familiar constant in his life. But now he sprawled all over it, and banged his feet and his knuckles on the footboard and headboard. And just when, he asked himself, did he begin sprawling in his sleep? He had always been a burrower, snuggling in a mound in the center of the bed.

“Child, you have not been so fussy since your ill-tempered infancy,” Briony told him one night when he had actually rolled himself out of bed in his vain attempts to find comfort.

“I think I have forgotten how to sleep by myself in a real bed,” he confided.

“Then go outside and sleep in the fields!” was the tart reply. “But don’t expect me to keep you company.”
Brandy Hall
Saradoc listened to his son pace the floor of his room night after night, and would have given up anything to return to the days when Merry’s nights were easy and welcome. He finally tired of Merry’s incessant dodging of his questions, and went to Frodo.

“We are changed,” Frodo had said, “all of us, and it is difficult to fit back into the old ways. It does not mean, cousin, that he is not happy to be home, for I know he is.”

Crickhollow was the solution (“Oh, I am so grateful I need not resort to the fields!” was Pippin’s bewildering response to Saradoc’s recommendation), where Merry could check on Pippin at will, and where he was not so pressed upon by countless relations but near enough to the Hall to assist his father. A new way, perhaps, but home nonetheless, and by spring, Merry was thriving so that it swept Saradoc away with joy.
Pippin cracked open an eye and scowled when Merry leaned over his bed. “ Must you hover so?” he demanded.

“You should not sleep so lightly and then my hovering would not bother you,” Merry retorted.

“I am a knight of Gondor,” was the haughty reply. “My senses are alert at all times.”

“They were not so alert earlier tonight when you nearly tumbled down off the porch at the inn,” Merry reminded him. Pippin yawned indifferently.

“Well, we are both awake now,” he said. “Let’s make hotcakes.”

“It’s four in the morning,” Merry said, but he wasn’t really objecting.

Watching Pippin lick golden syrup off his fingers soon after, warm and sleepy again from the hotcakes, it occurred to Merry that this moment was what it had all been for, and he was content.

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