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Merry and Frodo strolled behind, watching as Pippin purloined some ripe tomatoes. He came back with three, and Merry and Frodo did not refuse to share his loot.
Frodo tried to look disapproving, but he could refuse Pippin nothing right now as he thought of betraying him. And Merry? Merry might never forgive him. Suddenly his mood sobered. He carefully resisted putting his hand in his pocket.
Merry stopped and leaned against a nearby elm. finishing the tomato Pip had purloined. He noticed Frodo's changing mood; he knew Frodo was thinking about the Ring and his journey again. He wondered what Frodo would think if he realised Merry knew all about it. At least Pippin could enjoy himself without worrying.
They are doing it again, thought Pippin, fretting about that cursed Ring. It was up to him then, to change the mood. He raised his voice in song:
A hobbit of habit is Nob O' the Lea...
Author's Notes: This takes place just before Midsummer, in 1418, as Frodo, Merry and Pippin head for the Great Smials from Bag End, where Merry and Pippin had been visiting, to spend the holiday there. In my story "A Conspiracy of Hobbits" , not only did Frodo not know about Merry's Conspiracy, but at this point in time Merry was unaware that Pippin that Pippin did know about it.
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