1. Never a Goodbye
Many times in this vignette I quote directly from “The Grey Havens”, Chapter 9, Book 6, Return of the King.
After the War of the Ring, the four hobbits had settled into a routine that was comfortable. Certainly not normal, but comfortable. Much more comfortable than their lives had been for a long time. Well, at least Pippin had been comfortable.
Looking back, he realized that he and Merry and been honored and deemed more heroic than Frodo. Even Sam had received more credit for the great accomplishments that had taken place than Frodo. Maybe this was because the simple folk of the Shire didn’t fully comprehend what Frodo had done. They didn’t understand the internal battle Frodo fought, and the scars that would affect him until the end of his days.
But while Pippin, Merry, and Sam had been enjoying the peaceful life, it was quite obvious Frodo was not. He needed to be healed. He needed to find rest. He thought he would find it in the Shire, and he looked for it. He tried hard. But it could not be found, at least, not there. He had to do it. He had to leave, leave Middle-earth forever.
“It will be the only place where he can truly find rest,” Gandalf had said. “The only place where he can heal. And I want you to be there to bid farewell to one friend, and to be there for another during his sorrow.”
But Pippin did not want to say goodbye, now that the time had come.
Tears were streaming down his face by the time he and Merry rode up to Frodo and Sam. The Elves were going aboard, and all was being made ready to depart. Sam’s face brightened as he saw the two Hobbits, and Frodo laughed.
And amidst his tears, Pippin laughed too, partially because he always found Frodo‘s laugh amusing, partially because he wanted desperately to stop crying. “You tried to give us the slip once and failed. This time you have nearly succeeded, but you failed again. It was not Sam, though, who gave you away this time, but Gandalf himself!”
The tears came faster now. He could not stop them, try as he might. He wondered if anyone besides himself thought it odd that he was crying. It was quite unlike him. He was supposed to be the laughing, carefree Hobbit. He *was* a laughing, carefree Hobbit, before the Quest. It was then he realized how much the Quest had changed him.
‘If it has changed me this much, imagine what it has done to Frodo,’ thought Pippin. ‘He does need to heal, and to rest.’
“Yes,“ said Gandalf; :for it will be better to ride back three together than one alone. Well, here at last, dear friends, on the shore of the Sea comes the end of our Fellowship in Middle-earth, Go in peace!” He looked at Pippin. “I will not say: do not weep, for not all tears are an evil.”
And amidst his tears, Pippin laughed once more. Gandalf always did seem to know what he was thinking. He looked over at Frodo, who had tears in his eyes as he leaned in to say goodbye to Merry. Pippin knew he would say goodbye to him next. How do you say goodbye to someone you’ve known for practically your whole life?
Frodo came over to him, hugged him, and kissed him on the cheek. “I don’t know how to say goodbye,” choked Pippin. “I’ve thought long and hard about it, and I can’t. I just can’t. So I’m not going to.”
Frodo laughed. “You don’t have to, Pippin.”
“I will miss you, Frodo.”
“As I will you. But you must understand…”
Pippin looked into Frodo’s eyes, and nodded. “I understand.” Then he smiled. Frodo embraced him once more, and then they broke apart. Frodo started laughing, and Pippin had to hold back his laughter. “Goodbye, Pippin.” Frodo smiled, one last time, patted Pippin on the back, and went over to Samwise to say farewell. Pippin remained silent.
The evening deepened slowly to darkness as the three Hobbits stood at the shore of the Sea, looking at the ship that bore their friend and companion. Together and apart the four Hobbits had experienced many things, good and bad. And though some of the Quest, Pippin had been separated from Frodo, Sam, and even Merry, they all kept each other in their hearts, if not always in their thoughts…
“…and as long as we keep doing that, Merry, it isn’t really goodbye, isn’t it?”
“I suppose not, Pippin. I suppose not.”
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.