10. A Tough Decision
A knock on the door stopped her from answering that question. “Come in,” she said softly.
Merry poked his head in. “What’s wrong?” he asked, “You’ve been in here all day.”
She stared at the floor, not wanting to meet his gaze. “Merry, I think I want to go back.”
He shut the door and came inside. His face was grave. Somehow, he knew this wasn’t the time for joking. “What do you mean? Go back where?”
“Home,” she whispered, really not wanting to have this conversation, but knowing it was inevitable.
He took a seat beside her on her bed. He looked confused. “You are home,” he told her.
‘Poor Merry,’ she thought, ‘He still doesn’t get it.’ “I mean my other home, in New Hampshire,” she said.
A look of shock and dismay fell over his face. “Why?” was all he could get out.
“Because it’s where I belong.”
He jumped up, anger and panic suddenly igniting inside him. “You belong here, Acey! This is your home! Here, with us. With me.”
She grabbed his hand. She hadn’t known how greatly he cared for her until that moment. But it was too late. Her mind was made up.
“Merry, you have a wonderful family, and I’ve loved being a part of it, but it’s your family. Not mine.”
He fell to his knees and looked up at her. “I thought it was.”
Acacia felt tears welling in her eyes. “So did I, Merry. But I finally realized that my real family’s back in America, where I should be.”
“I thought your parents were dead,” he said, confusion once again coloring his face.
She looked away. “I lied.” She didn’t see his shock. “My parents are alive,” she continued, “I just said they were dead so no one would try to find them and send me back. I thought they were terrible and didn’t love me. I was happy to get away from them.”
He squeezed her hand. His voice sounded almost pleading. “Then why do you want to go back?”
She forced herself to look at him. She almost pulled away from the pain she saw in his eyes, but she made herself look. “Because I realized that even if they’re not the best parents in the world, they’re still my parents. And I love them.”
They were both silent for what seemed like ages. Merry stared at the bed in front of him. Finally, she heard his soft voice float up to her. “Do you not like us any more, Acey?”
She broke down in tears and threw her arms around his neck, dropping to her knees on the floor in front of him. “No, Merry! I do! I love you all so dearly. But seeing you here, with your family, it just reminds me of how far away I am from mine. And I know it sounds crazy, but I miss them.”
After a while longer, he took her shoulders and pushed her away, holding her at arms length. The sorrow in his face was replaced by resolve, though his eyes were still a bit red. “Is this really what you want?” he asked her. She nodded. “Then I’ll help you. How do you get there?”
She looked out the window, more to avoid his reaction than to actually try to see her land. “I don’t know.”
He helped her to her feet and they sat on her bed. His eyes were kind now, and understanding. “Then first thing tomorrow, I’ll help you find your way home.”
She couldn’t find a response to this, but she could hardly have spoken one if she tried. So, she hugged him again.
He smiled sadly. “Even if I have to tramp all over Middle-Earth to do it.”
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.