Perhaps, he thinks, it's because of that mischievous smile that's just for him, the one Pippin tosses carelessly over his shoulder like a twist of orange peel as a silent declaration to Merry that's he's spotted an opportunity to cause mischief. Merry loves that smile, catches it and treasures it on every occasion that it's offered. It's the smile Pippin uses to explain wordlessly that he doesn't mean any harm, not *really *, but that the opportunity is really too good to pass over…
Or maybe, Merry muses, it's the way the afternoon sunlight catches in Pippin's coppery hair to ignite it like an ironically misplaced halo, encircling his face like tongues of fire. When the light plays that particular trick, Merry can't help thinking that Pippin looks like an angel, wise and graceful and resplendent, and that maybe it isn't a trick of the light at all.
Possibly, Merry thinks, it's the endearingly childlike innocence that Pippin inadvertently displays despite his rowdiness; the way he clings to Merry for reassurance and plies him with questions about the unfamiliar world of aristocratic lasses and strange dishes from the East and stiff, formal dinner-parties. The Thain won't allow Pippin to attend his dinner-parties quite yet, and, much as Merry regrets his absence, he can't help conceding that his uncle may be right in this instance. After all, last time Pippin managed to creep within striking distance of one such party, three or four of the lady guests had to be dispatched home screaming after several large, fat frogs mysteriously materialised on their chairs.
Merry can never quite say why he loves Pippin. It could be all of these things. It could be none. Whenever he tries to think about it with any degree of seriousness, he always finds his train of thought interrupted by small, strong fingers clasped over his eyes and a shrill voice laughing delightedly into his ear from so close that it sends shivers coursing down his spine. "What's wrong, Merry? Thinking? I thought I smelled smoke."
And then Pippin lets go and moves around so Merry can see him, and any composure Merry may have managed to secure is lost in those impossibly bright green eyes sparkling at him from so short a distance that he can smell apple on Pippin's breath. Those same strong fingers ruffle his hair and Merry decides, quite finally, that it really doesn't matter why he loves Pippin. It's not important, not with the sunlight caught in Pippin's hair like that, not with Pippin giggling derisively at him with his hands twined through Merry's curls.
Perhaps, Merry thinks, as he reaches across to brush a strand of Pippin's hair from those unearthly eyes; perhaps it's not a thing that should be discernible. Perhaps it's not something you're meant to know. Perhaps if you can say exactly why you love somebody, why and how and when, you don't love them quite enough.
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.