3. A great Shadow has departed
The moon was waning when the first stirrings of life from the little being on the cot caught Legolas' song in his throat. At first, just a finger, then his uninjured leg. Then the little face crumpled up a bit and his breathing quickened. His left hand groped blindly across the blankets and Legolas reached out to clasp it in his own.
"Pippin, dear heart," he whispered. "Do you wake?"
But Pippin, apparently content to have found someone familiar near, slipped back into his stillness and stayed there for another hour before he began to stir again. This time, it was with a sharp cry that jolted Gimli to his feet to hover anxiously by the bed.
"Pippin, Pippin," Legolas soothed, still clasping the undamaged hand in one hand and stroking the hobbit's brow with the other. "It is all right now. The battle is ended and evil has been overthrown. You are safe. You have been hurt, but Aragorn has been here to care for you, and Gimli and I are here now and will not leave you. You cannot see because your eyes were hurt, but they will be better soon. Do not be afraid now, our brave little hobbit."
But Pippin did not seem to understand, and he cried out fearfully, pathetic little bleatings and sobs accompanied by blind, aimless flailings that Gimli attempted to gently still, lest Pippin injure himself further. The healers brought a sleeping draught, but Pippin would not let it pass by his lips, and Legolas forbade the healers to force it into him. Finally, to his friends' heartbreak, he managed to form a single coherent word that he repeated in pleading whimpers: "Merry Merry Merry Merry Merry . . ."
At length, Gimli, desperate to end the hobbit's confusion and pain, carefully but firmly took Pippin's face between his two hands and leaned in so close that his beard tickled the hobbit's neck. "Young hobbit," he said in the same commanding voice he used when telling Pippin not to touch something, "listen to me. Merry will be here very soon, but Legolas and I are here now. You have been hurt, but you will be better soon. Now, you must take your medicine, and then you must sleep and grow strong once more. Do you understand?"
Pippin had stopped moving at this rough handling, and now he furrowed his brow as if trying to recall how words worked. After a long, silent moment, he answered, "All right, then, Gimli," in his own clear voice, making his friends exhale deeply in relief. Deciding to press ahead while he had the advantage, Gimli presented the sleeping draught and commanded Pippin to drink, and once it was gone, ordered him to sleep. Pippin gave one last show at resistance by asking, "Merry will be here soon?" but then promptly fell asleep when both elf and dwarf assured him that Merry would be there soon.
As Legolas tucked the blankets more securely about the patient with care, Gimli straightened his tunic and headed for the door. "Master Dwarf, do you go to your rest as well?" Legolas called after him.
Gimli snorted. "No," he answered. "I go to tell Aragorn and Gandalf that our Peregrin has returned to us. Then I go to make sure someone has thought to send for Meriadoc. We have both just told him Merry would be here soon, and I am thinking that if we do not have a cousin to produce relatively quickly, our young friend is going to have a lot to say about it." And he turned on his heel and strode away.
Legolas smiled and leaned close to Pippin's pointed ear. "Do you see what terror you hold over great warriors?" he whispered into it. "Do you see how the mighty and honored scurry to fulfill every desire of your little heart?"
Pippin did not answer, but in slumber, his fingers tightened a bit about Legolas' hand.
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.