7. Back to Normal
“It’s Pippin, don’t you understand?”
Hearing his name, Pippin skidded to a soundless halt just outside the door of their library. What was this?
“But Frodo, you have to admit that what you wrote was a bit, well……… uncomplimentary.”
“But I didn’t *know* that, now, did I?”
Pippin could hear someone pacing about the room.
“It wasn’t until Legolas asked me --- with an odd smile on his face, by the way--- where I learned such words, that I understood what Pippin was angry about. Faramir, do you know how many ways that phrase can be translated? And Legolas said *he* was the one who told Pippin what it meant!”
Pippin listened, open-mouthed, at what he was hearing. It *had* been Legolas who had translated the phrase for him, after Strider had been so evasive about it.
“And *then*!” Pippin could tell Frodo was getting agitated. “And then every time I try to talk to Pip he just grins at me and gives me a hug and changes the conversation to food. Or something. Well, usually food. I can’t bear this tension between us, not with Pippin. I’m so proud of him, he’s been……… been so………” There was a plunk, as if someone had plopped into a chair. “I’m sorry, Faramir, I don’t think I’m feeling very well.”
“What is it?” Faramir’s voice sounded very concerned.
“It’s really nothing. This morning Merry wanted to see the place where he and Éowyn vanquished the Lord of the Nazgûl ……….. where Theoden died. I went with him. It’s a dreadful place, Faramir, all blackened and withered. I couldn’t let Merry go there alone.” Frodo’s voice grew fainter and Pippin had to strain to hear him. “On the way back to the City I started to feel very cold and……… Nevermind, I don’t want to talk about it anymore. The memories are still too---”
“I understand,” said Faramir. “May I escort you back to your room?”
“Would you?” Frodo sighed. “I think I need to sleep for awhile.”
Dumbfounded, Pippin started to back up so quickly he tripped and fell. Frodo and Faramir came out of the library and saw him.
“Pip!” Frodo kneeled down, startled.
Pippin stared into his cousin’s face. Frodo looked pale and tired.
“Pip, are you all right?”
“Am I all right?” Pippin gasped. “Am *I* all right?”
Frodo turned to Faramir. “I’ll make it to my room all right, Faramir. Why don’t you see if Pippin needs anything?” He turned back to his cousin and tousled his hair fondly. “Silly Pip. Just watch where you’re going next time, yes?”
Frodo got to his feet, a bit unsteadily, and walked away slowly.
Faramir knelt down. “Peregrin, are you hurt?”
Pippin wordlessly shook his head.
“Good, I am glad.” Faramir helped Pippin to his feet. “I need to see the King about Frodo. I do not think he is well.” Faramir’s expression turned grim. “I should have seen to the clearing of that evil ground,” he murmured to himself. “That wraith almost killed them both, who can say what dark memories, what nightmares they may be……… and I well know what it is like to have been touched by the Black Breath.” He sighed. “I don’t think he’s been eating too well recently, either.”
‘Oh, Faramir,” gasped Pippin. “That’s because he was nervous about what I……. what I might………..”
“What’s that?” Faramir smiled absently at Pippin. “There now, you’re all right. Just keep your feet under you next time!” He patted the hobbit on the shoulder and strode away.
Faramir caught up with Frodo just outside the hobbit’s room, and took his arm.
“Frodo, how did you know Peregrin would be outside the library at just that moment?”
Frodo grinned at him. “Sam told him I was there, and that it might be a good time to talk. I knew Pippin couldn’t resist another chance to show me how sweet and innocent he was. You may not be able to hear a hobbit approaching, Faramir, but I can. Pippin’s only quiet when he wants to be.” Frodo chuckled quietly. “He couldn’t resist listening in; he is a Took, after all.”
Faramir got the feeling that Frodo felt that this explained everything. “I don’t like being involved in family disputes, my friend,” he said, “but at least we have seen an end to it now. Even though you *did* start it, Frodo.”
“Actually, it was Pippin who---”
“Never mind. By the way, how did you know Peregrin *wasn’t* “sweet and innocent’? He really had me fooled.”
“How did………..” Frodo was as astonished as if the Man had asked him how he knew the sky was blue. “How did you know that Éowyn loved you, Faramir? I mean, that she wasn’t just saying she did?”
Faramir stared at Frodo, shocked. “Why, I could see it! There in her eyes. It was like………” His voice trailed off and he got a dreamy look on his face.
“Exactly,” said Frodo. “It’s all in the eyes. People think *my* eyes reveal everything, if they only knew! I can’t even come close when it comes to Pippin.”
“I see.” Faramir was about to leave, but he frowned and looked at Frodo closely. “That story about visiting the site of the wraith’s destruction --- and feeling ill afterwards --- that wasn’t just part of the act, was it? That was true?”
“Yes,” said Frodo. “Why?”
“Because you do look tired. Perhaps you *should* rest for awhile.”
“I think I will.” Frodo looked down the empty corridor. “Well, at least everything’s back to normal. Now that Pip overheard that I didn’t mean to insult him, at least not much, and that I’m proud of him, which I am, we’ll have an end to the teasing and plotting and being constantly followed. I really could use a couple of nice, peaceful days after all this.“
Meanwhile Pippin leaned against the wall, nearly sliding back down to the floor in his distress.
What have I done? he thought wildly. Frodo risked everything for us. Everything! He’s still haunted by memories and wounds, and I’m badgering him about something he didn’t even know he did! He looked up the corridor in the direction Frodo had gone, a determined look on his face. “No more of this,” he said out loud. “Whatever he needs, day or night, I’ll be there for him. Every single second.”
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.