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Summary- Pippin comforts Merry after Merry's encounter with the Black Breath in Bree.
Never Fear for I am Here
“Where is that silly fellow, Merry? It would be the last straw, if we had to go out in the dark to look for him.” ~Pippin, FotR
“Merry? You’re still awake?” Pippin turned to his left side in bed to see Merry with a pensive and somewhat disturbed look upon his face.
“Yes, Pip…” Merry whispered back, quiet to not wake the other hobbits. “I can’t sleep… ever since…” Merry shuddered in memory, not knowing how to proceed. He snuggled into his covers, trying to rid himself of the sudden coldness that pervaded the air.
“Oh Merry! Do you want to talk about it… outside of here?” Pippin motioned to the ever alert and still awake Strider. Pippin had already read his cousin’s mind before Merry had been explicit about what was bothering him.
“I guess... it’s not a big deal though.” Merry turned to his back, looking up to the ceiling, not facing Pippin. He did not want Pippin to worry and perhaps it would’ve been better not to talk about the night’s occurrence. Even though the Black Riders had frightened him a lot, no one should worry for him for it was not anyone else’s burden to bear.
“No Merry, it’ll be better for you and for me since you know I did worry a lot when you were out for so long,” Pippin whispered back. “Though you told us what happened, I’m sure you still have more to say… for isn’t that the reason that you’re still not asleep?”
“Incredibly thoughtful Took… all right Pippin. You win… but let’s not talk here…” Merry replied, motioning to where Strider was sitting, smoking his pipe and looking out the window.
“All right, we’ll go out of this room for a stroll.”
The hobbits left the bed quietly, careful not to disturb Frodo and Sam. Strider took notice of them but they just answered his inquiry saying that they needed to go to the privy.
After the door of the inner chamber was closed behind them, Pippin grasped at Merry’s cold hands and asked, “Now tell me all the details about what happened. I was dreadfully worried when you didn’t come back for quite a while. Even when you did explain everything, I was wondering about how you ever managed to stay so calm. Merry! Black Riders! From Mordor! I’m frightfully glad that you’re all right.” Pippin looked into his cousin’s blue eyes and held on ever tighter onto Merry’s hands to ensure himself that his cousin was there, in front of him and safe from harm.
“Yes, Pip—it was rather… odd… as I told everyone, I felt like I was falling to pieces and didn’t remember much other than the fact that it was cold and I felt like coming back into consciousness was like gasping for water. I felt like I had fallen into deep water…I couldn’t’ remember much…. Just a dreadful chill…and… and I couldn’t breathe…” Merry stopped. Thinking about the horrifying occurrence made him feel sick; he didn’t want to think about it more than he had the past half hour. Involuntarily, he began to shiver again at the memory or lack of memory of what happened at that dark street of Bree.
“Oh Merry!” Pippin wrapped his cousin in a big embrace. “I wished you had stayed in with us… as I had said, it would’ve been safer had none of us ventured out. To think that the Black Riders are so close to where we are….” Pippin’s voice drifted as he was overcome with fear as well.
Merry felt comforted by Pippin’s embrace, momentarily feeling safe to be in the protection of the cousin he loved, so he continued on, “I was just so afraid I would’ve said something, said something to …to reveal where Frodo was… It’s kind of like falling unconscious like when we were in the Barrow but these dreams I had were darker, more frightening. I… was so scared for Frodo, for all of us that I ran right back when Nob woke me. I’m glad that Frodo is still safe though.”
“And I’m glad you’re safe too, dear Merry. It’s all right, you’re here, safe. I will not let any Black Rider near you again, and the dreams, even without description sound horrible. Here, Merry… have some water.” Pippin held out a water skin he had been holding. “Just think good thoughts… think about how Frodo used to tell us ghost stories but then none of them were really real and you weren’t scared, only Sam and I were! And remember that time when I thought that Bag End was haunted because of all the rumors that had gone forth from Bag End, but really there wasn’t any truth in that at all! This is different… but you’re inside and safe for the moment, Merry. Never fear for I am here with you.”
Merry smiled in recollection of these thoughts. “I remember, Pip… those were brighter times. I just can’t help but be worried for all of us, especially you, Pip… I guess that is why I went out in the first place. I had to explore, make sure that Bree is a safe place for us to spend the night… meeting up with the Black Riders…” Merry closed his eyes in recollection. “No, I truly do not want to meet them again.”
“Merry—you’re not ‘in charge’ of us and especially can’t control what happens for nothing is solely one person’s fault. There are too many unforeseen adventures and even if danger further increases, remember that you’re not at fault for not being there at that specific time,” finished Pippin. Pippin glanced at Merry’s face, which was starting to relax more and held an amused grin while staring at Pippin. “What are you grinning about?”
“Now when did you become so wise, Master Peregrin Took? I took you on this adventure because you wouldn’t leave me alone and now you’re dispensing advice?” Merry gave Pippin a playful nudge.
“What can I do? I cannot have a worried and frightened Merry already so early in the adventure. You’re no fun when you’re tossing and turning in bed, you know? I need to sleep too,” Pippin feigned a pout and continued, “Especially if you go outside and come back after your curfew, then this Took is not happy,” Pippin said as he folded his arms together.
“Silly Took! Now when did I have a curfew?” Merry was laughing now, the tension had decreased and he felt more relaxed.
“I told you not to go out so late, but no, you did not listen. Naughty Brandybuck!” Pippin frowned and then burst out laughing too. “Just don’t go out in the dark by yourself anymore, all right?” Pippin face softened to a serious expression.
“Yes, Daddy Pippin,” Merry mocked back. “No, you’re right, I’ll go everywhere with you now, all right?”
“Well, not everywhere,” Pippin laughed at the notion. “I’m a grown hobbit almost of age anyways, willing to share my wisdom to you whenever you take me seriously.”
“Yes, oh wise, Peregrin Took, please enlighten me with all that you know. Your company is ever so appreciated,” Merry stepped back and pretended to bow to Pippin. “But seriously though, thank you, Pip. Thanks so much for talking. I don’t know what I’ll do without you on this little adventure,” Merry stepped closer to Pippin and gathered him in his arms, hugging him tightly, taking in the familiar scent of his beloved cousin
“Me neither, Merry, me neither.”
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