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Summary: Merry and Pippin share a moment to reflect upon their time with the orcs.
Written because I was so very inspired by slightlytookish's "In the Grey Twilight" which can also be found under her name at SoA. Thank you to ST for beta-ing!
“As they walked they compared notes, talking lightly in hobbit-fashion of the things that had happened since their capture.” The Uruk-hai, The Two Towers
“You’ve had a cruel time,” said Pippin as he helped Merry wash away the dried blood from his wrists and ankles at the stream they had found. He looked into Merry’s weary blue eyes and could see his gratitude for his cousin’s help.
“What an adventure we’re landed ourselves, eh Pip? You’ve proven your worth as a Took indeed, dear cousin. Your quick thinking and wit throughout our days as the orcs’ baggage will indeed warrant a page or two in Bilbo’s book, wouldn’t you say?” said Merry with a wan smile.
“I would expect a chapter, Mer,” replied Pippin with a sly grin as he placed Merry’s ankle back on the grassy bank of the stream. “Though you knew it was my job to keep you out of trouble,” Pippin added with a wink. But then his face became serious again and he said, “I was really worried for you most of the time though …especially during the time before you woke with that nasty gash on your forehead and when they treated you so cruelly while giving you that horrid orcish medicine. I was more than glad when you woke up…finally… “Pippin’s voice drifted as he looked away in memory.
“I was very worried about you too, Pip,” Merry said, placing his hand on Pippin’s shoulder. “I’m sorry I wasn’t able to plan our escape from the orcs. Those days were all so dark and …and it seemed I couldn’t do anything to help. I’m sorry, Pippin,” Merry looked down, and his blue eyes seemed drowned in shame.
“Oh Merry,” said Pippin, giving his cousin a hug. “Neither of us could do much, so to speak. I’m just glad that we got out of that little mess. Whoever did what or when or how does not matter now.” He smiled. “Are you all right now to move on, and explore this forest?”
“Yes, I think I’m all right now. I feel better than I have in a while,” Merry stood and helped Pippin up in the process. “How are you feeling, Pip, and what other impressive things did you manage to do?”
“Well, I do not think that it was ‘impressive’ or even worth anything in the long run, but I did manage to escape the orcs for a bit and let my Elven brooch fall to the ground in hopes that Aragorn would find us… if he even did decide to follow us,” said Pippin grimly. “It was not fun at all to run down that bank with barely a hope of escaping or even thinking that it was worth anything to even let that precious gift fall way.”
“Perhaps Strider and the others will come, if they have not decided to follow Frodo instead. But whatever the chances, I’m frightfully glad that you did that, for if they did follow us, now they will have a hint of what path to take,” said Merry thoughtfully. “I don’t suspect that we will meet anyone for a long while though. Especially in these woods,” Merry motioned towards the densely packed forest of trees that were so different from any in the Shire.
“You lead on, cousin… I think my chapter has just about ended and it’s now time for you to show what you are able to accomplish without me,” said Pippin with a smile.
“Of course I would have much to do in order to surpass your deeds with the orcs,” replied Merry with a grin. “But, Pippin, I’m mighty glad about what you’ve done for us, your ability to free your bonds and free me and have lembas for both of us were acts vital to our survival. I’m proud of you, my dear Took. And I’m glad that we’re in this together,” said Merry as he put his arms around Pippin’s shoulders as they continued on their way deeper into Fangorn Forest.
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