4. He laughs now more than he talks
The morning after Pippin's awakening, the entire encampment moved to North Ithilien. Legolas patiently walked his faithful Arod while Gimli rode astride, carefully cradling the injured hobbit, who slept deeply with the aid of a draught. They were directed to an infirmary tent upon arrival in the fair country, but after one look at the large, noisy tent filled to capacity with moaning men and the stench of blood, Legolas artfully secured a corner of the supply tent and a cot from the healer woman, where Pippin could have quiet and rest.
Gimli had discovered that Éomer had already sent for Merry the previous day, but his arrival from Minas Tirith would no doubt take several days, and Legolas and Gimli had their hands full of fretful, malcontented hobbit. His fever would rise at random times, and he was childish and churlish with pain and discomfort and blindness. He wanted none of the medicines they had been instructed to give him, and they would persuade him to take one draught only to find it muddled his thinking even worse, making him even more argumentative about taking other medicines. Or they would succeed in coaxing all of the prescribed remedies into him only to have a bout of vomiting bring it all back up, thus necessitating that the process begin again. Gimli did fairly well for half a day by telling Pippin that everything he was being given was ale, but by afternoon, Pippin was clearer and would have none of it.
It was all exhausting, but neither elf nor dwarf would suffer any stranger to care for their friend, and as both Aragorn and Gandalf were busy caring for Frodo and Sam and could not be spared for long, they carried on as best they could. But on the second day in Ithilien, his fever spiked in the early evening, and that night he was fretful and hot and confused and inconsolable. Legolas pressed most of a sleeping draught past his lips, only to have Pippin be sick all over the bed and the elf moments later. Bed and hobbit and elf were finally cleaned up and back in order when Pippin began crying for Merry again, and this time nothing anyone could do or say would calm him.
Gimli had hemmed and hawed and muttered in his own language a great deal during the evening, but when Pippin began pleading for his cousin, he stormed out of the tent like a black cloud, and without a word to Legolas.
"Wherever does the Master Dwarf go?" the healer woman, coming over to help upon hearing the commotion, asked Legolas as she watched Gimli's departure.
"Perhaps he believes he can carry his cousin here quicker on his back than the ships of Minas Tirith can arrive," Legolas said sharply, tucking another blanket around Pippin's shivering form. The woman sniffed in an offended manner, but handed him a cool cloth to press to the hobbit's feverish brow.
Gimli returned within the hour, and the healer woman gaped openly when he brought the great wizard Gandalf with him. But the wizard did not restore the hobbit to health with a white light from his staff, or bring him his cousin on the back of an eagle, or do any of the many great deeds the other healers whispered about. No, instead, he leaned over the cot and put a hand on Pippin's brow and said in a kind voice, "Now, now, what is this tale I hear, hmm? All of this fuss, Peregrin -- you should see what a state Gimli is in." At the foot of the cot, Gimli snorted and crossed his arms over his chest.
"Gandalf," Pippin said in a half-sob, and reached his arms out.
"Oh, there, now," Gandalf said, and scooped the hobbit into his arms before anyone could protest. He claimed the chair a moment later, cradling Pippin to him like a small child and bundling blankets over the little form.
"Aragorn told us not to move him overmuch," Legolas objected weakly, but Gandalf replied with, "Master Greenleaf, you fuss as much as the patient. Go and rest! And take that overzealous dwarf with you! Leave me alone with my lad, if you please, and do not come back until morning!"
Legolas opened his mouth to protest, but Pippin did seem to be settling down, contentedly nuzzling his face into Gandalf's beard and yawning hugely. "Go on now!" Gandalf commanded. "See, he just needed to be held, and I believe I can be trusted with that task. Off with all of you!"
Cowed, they slunk off. As they left, Legolas overheard Pippin murmur, "Gandalf, I dreamed that you left."
"Oh, did you?" Gandalf answered. "Well, I am here now, aren't I, my lad? And I forbid any unpleasant imaginings while I am in the room, so you will just have to dream about nine-course meals and the best ale the Green Dragon has to offer. Now, I do believe I promised you some stories about the Old Took, did I not? Let us see . . ."
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.