"I had that dream again, Merry."
You nod absently, gazing out at the rain that currently buckets down over the Shire, turning the fields to thick mud and the Brandywine into a foaming brown beast.
"You know the one."
Of course you know the one- your cousin has suffered it year in, year out, ever since…
"The one where we saved him."
You sigh, close your eyes.
"The one where we saved Boromir."
You open your eyes and- surprise, surprise- they are wet with tears.
You shrug, and continue to stare out at the rain.
"Could we have saved him, do you think?"
You will not show him your tears.
You close your eyes again, shake your head.
Even now, all these years later, you remember Amon Hen as clear as day.
You remember the screams- some of them Pippin's, some of them the war-cries of the Uruks, some of them your own.
You remember the stink of blood and fear.
You open your eyes and turn back to him, shadowed against the window.
"No, Pippin. We couldn't have saved him."
He doesn't understand, you can see it in his eyes.
"Why not? Why couldn't we have saved him?"
The same pleading is in his eyes as always, in his voice as always.
"All we needed to do was hold them off a little longer. We could have kept fighting a little longer. We could have given Strider a little more time. We could have…"
You shake your head again.
"We couldn't, Pip."
Now he shakes his head, not wanting to believe you.
"We were just too small, too few, too… too us."
Tears run down his face.
"We could have tried."
You cross to him, hold him close, stroke his hair.
"I know. But it wouldn't have been enough, Pip."
He sobs into your shoulder, hard and angry as the rain on the fields of the Shire.
He always does.
"It's not fair."
He pulls away, anger and hurt dancing in his great, sad eyes.
"I know it isn't, but it had to happen that way."
He scowls, but you continue.
"It's like Mister Bilbo said- he could have killed that awful Gollum, but if he had, he wouldn't have been able to show Frodo and Sam the way to Mordor, now would he?"
Pippin wipes his eyes angrily with his sleeve, glares dagger at you, but you continue.
"Or if that awful Smaug had never been born, he would never have forced out the Dwarves from Erebor and they never would have needed a Burglar to go a-questing with them and no-one would have found the Ring in the first place."
"That's not the same, and you know it."
You shake your head, sadly.
"It is the same, Pip. If we'd saved Boromir, who's to say we would have ever gone to Rohan? Who's to say we would ever have met Treebeard? Who's to say we would ever have stopped Saruman joining up with Sauron?"
Your cousin says nothing, but instead storms out of the room. You want to call him back, but you can't.
You know it isn't fair- after all, you have the dream too- but sometimes life isn't fair.
Happy endings only happen in fairy-stories, after all…
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.