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Recaptured!: 51. Hide The Hobbit
"Wait one moment." Legolas requested. "I have to see if the little ones are all right."
'legolas? pippin gone sleep now'
'Merry? Don't wake Pippin. Éowyn is going to pull the arrow from the wound now. It may hurt, but I will try to shield you both from the pain.'
'pain go wake pip?'
'No, I will not let it and you should leave now too. I was just warning you in case any feeling leaked into your minds.'
'can go help legolas pain? can try…'
'Merry, that's very brave of you but…'
'legolas go help my pip… help i… all time…'
'Well, if you are sure… You can help me to shield Pippin from any more pain. It is a big effort to hold it away from you both.'
Legolas opened his eyes to speak to Éowyn "I am sorry, could you wait a little longer. I have to put my thoughts in order."
"Of course." Éowyn stood back from the elf and waited patiently.
'legolas? you go be readidy now?'
'Merry where are you? Are you all right?'
'on ground… hands not up… not go hurted…'
'All right, now if you are sure you can help me?'
'can go try hard…'
'Just touch the edge of the pain. Can you feel it?"
'can do feel…'
'Now hold it there and try not to soak up too much, then feel where Pip is.'
'can feel hurt… can feel pip sleeps…'
'Good. Stop the pain in your head and do not let it reach Pip. If it hurts too much, send it back to me. Do you understand?'
"do… am go be read – readidy… can go start…'
Legolas opened his eyes once more and nodded to Éowyn that he was prepared. She took the broken shaft once more and Gimli held the elf's shoulders from behind. Éowyn inserted a thin bladed knife into the wound to ease the arrow's backwards progress.
Merry and Legolas both drew a quick breath.
Éowyn pulled sharply and Merry and Legolas both let out agonised cries. Pippin slept soundly, cuddled under the orc's blanket.
Legolas slumped forward, his senses pumping with the pain. Gimli held him and then laid him gently back on the ground while Éowyn carefully stemmed the bleeding and then cleaned and bandaged the wound.
He could still feel Merry absorbing a good portion of what the wound should be yielding in hurt and gently grasped the little hobbit's hand as gradually they both fell into unconsciousness.
Merry was sitting on the grass where the ruffians had pushed him when Legolas had spoken to him. The little hobbit had stopped listening to Wormtongue argue with them about how far they would have to accompany him in order to get the rest of their pay.
Merry's cry made Wormtongue and the two ruffians jump out of their skins. The gruff voiced man, once he realised where the noise had come from, cuffed the little hobbit around the head. "Quiet!" he growled. "Whassa matter with you?"
Merry whimpered a little and curled down on to the grass in a foetal position, his breathing laboured and short, the pain from the elf's wound throbbing. He felt Legolas grip his hand and Merry concentrated all his efforts into making the agony stop with him – his Pip had suffered enough pain. Gradually he knew the agony was stopping but when it finally did, he had lost consciousness.
"You won't get no more trouble from it!" The ruffian sneered. "See, I only clouted it once and it went out like a light. You don't need no more help from us."
"An' I ain't going to no Mordor," his companion added. "There's trouble brewing there an' I don't wanna get mixed up with no bleedin' orcs!"
"Well you'll get no more pay from me." Grima retorted. "Go! Leave here! I shall remember this day's work when I am the ruler of Isengard."
"Don't worry, we're going." The ruffian led his horse away and signalled to his companion to do the same. "We got half our pay and it's worth lettin' you cheat us of the other half, without goin' to no Mordor or a'gettin' caught up in your dirty dealin's."
The two men mounted their horses and rode off, leaving Wormtongue with an unconscious, now sleeping hobbit.
Merry was exhausted. He had had no sleep the night before and then suffered several traumas since and, in spite of Wormtongue's best efforts, he could not rouse the little creature. The kidnapper could not manage to lift the sleeping hobbit onto his horse on his own and so was forced to sit beside Merry until he awoke.
Merry slumbered soundly until nightfall.
Smagnu and Grutfley had been assigned to patrol the outside eastern wall on this particular night, although 'patrol' was a very loose term. What it actually involved was finding a place as sheltered as possible, which also gave them the best vantage-point of the whole wall where they could sit and bicker the night away.
As Smagnu was a Corporal his duties also involved checking on others during the night, making sure they were at their posts and had nothing untoward to report.
Pippin sat huddled up under Smagnu's large cloak, he was very cold and more than a little nervous. Barad-dûr was a frightening place for a small hobbit and the outside was even more daunting than the inside.
"Whacha gonna do with that thing then?" Grutfley was not actually trying to needle his partner, but he was managing it anyway. "S'pose them up top tell you to drown'ded it – whacha gonna do then?"
"I don't know, why should they." Smagnu growled. "They didn't want it – so it must be all right for me to keep it. Wassit to you?"
"Well if you gonna keep it in our room," Grutfley sniffed, wiping his nose on the back of his sleeve, "it makes it look like I kept it too."
"Oh frightened of 'em are we. Scared shitless for your filthy skin." Smagnu opened his cloak and looked at the shivering little creature. "Don't worry yerself. If they get wind of it, I'll let it go. Out here or something."
"It'd last about 5 minutes an' you do that." Grutfley pointed out. "It ain't got no sense anyhow, don't reckon."
"Oh no, it's quite clever." Smagnu declared, almost proudly. "It untied the knot I made and got up on the bed all on its own. I'm gonna teach it some tricks later."
"Well teach it to do somethin' useful then." Grutfley slapped his arms around his body several times and stomped up and down, trying to get warm. "Teach it to steal some more whiskey rations or some such."
"Yeah!" Smagnu liked the idea. "I think it could too. It's small enough to fit through the serving hatch on the store. That'd be a good trick."
"Hadn't you gotta go do your checks now?" Grutfley was pacing up and down and eyeing the spot that Smagnu was sitting in which was well out of the wind. "You can leave the creature with me if you want."
"You sure?" Smagnu did not trust his partner at all and suspected he would strangle the little thing in a second, given half the chance. "You do anything to it and I'll have you – make no mistake."
"Yeah, yeah, it'll be all right." Grutfley assured him. "I won't hurt it – just give us a slug of your whiskey."
Smagnu took his flask out and handed it to Grutfley who took a liberal swig. The Uruk then snatched it back and took a long draught himself. He looked at his shivering little creature and decided it needed warming up too. He put the flask to Pippin's mouth and poured some of the fiery liquor down his throat. Pip coughed and spluttered, he really did not like whiskey, especially on top of all the beer he had been given for his late 'breakfast'.
Smagnu put the flask away again with a frown, looking anxiously at the red-faced choking little creature. Then he remembered something. "I know what you like," he said sounding almost good-natured. "You love this."
He pulled out his precious bottle of poppy juice. He took the stopper out and waved the bottle under Pippin's nose for him to smell, but the hobbit could not really tell what it was with the strong whiskey fumes still in his throat.
Smagnu put his finger over the bottle and upended it, making his finger damp with the juice. He then put his finger on Pippin's mouth and the hobbit immediately recognised the flavour.
Pippin grabbed hold of the Uruk's finger, just the way he used to with Aragorn, and put it in his mouth. The two orcs laughed to see this reaction and Smagnu poured a liberal amount into his hand and let Pippin lap it up. He did not want to give him the bottle to drink from as he suspected he probably would not want to stop.
After a good helping of poppy juice Smagnu put the bottle away again and noticed that the little creature had stopped shivering and snuggled happily into his side, its eyes closed in contentment.
"Well you found its soft spot I reckon." Grutfley chuckled. The little creature was beginning to amuse him. "Maybe you ought to give it a name? What about 'Poppy'? It likes that poppy stuff right enough."
"Naw," Smagnu sneered in disgust. "Can't call it that – that's a female name – y'know like a flower, 'cause that's what this stuff is really."
"Well just call it 'Pop then." Grutfley suggested. "That'd just be short for 'Poppy'."
"That's just a stupid fugging name." Smagnu growled. "I ain't callin' it 'Pop', sounds like an old man."
"Female! old man! I dunno, whaddya want." Grutfley moaned. "All right don't call it 'Pop' call it 'Pip' then."
"What like an apple pip." Smagnu chortled a little. "That sorta suits it. It's like a little pip, innit?"
"Yeah! Come on, come here little Pip." Grutfley took the leash and tugged Pippin to come from under Smagnu's cloak. Pippin stayed where he was. He was warm there and he did not particularly want to get near the cruel Grutfley who had abused him so before.
"Come on little Pip." Smagnu stood up, lifting the hobbit out of his warm hiding place and set him on the floor next to Grutfley. "I have to go and see to some things now. You stay here."
The Uruk began to walk away as Grutfley climbed into the vacated niche with Pippin's leash in his hand. Suddenly the little hobbit flung himself to the full extent of the cord and grabbed hold of Smagnu's leg, hanging on for all he was worth.
Smagnu looked down and frowned, half cross and half pleased. The little thing was getting very attached to him and this was a totally new experience for the fierce unlovable and unloved Uruk-hai. He bent down and picked Pippin up, taking the leash from Grutfley.
He tucked the little creature under his arm and hid it with his cloak. "It's all right," he patted the thing on the head as it wrapped trustingly around him. "You stay by me. I'll take care of you little Pip."
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