Acacia heard the soft sound and opened her eyes. She looked down at Merry and smiled wistfully. A storm of longing and pain raged in her heart. “I do love it here,” she whispered quietly enough not to wake him, “and I love you, Merry, but I miss my parents. I wish I was home. If only I knew how to get there.”
It took her a long time to get back to sleep. Her mind was filled with memories of both homes and both families. She was thinking it over one last time, but in the end she came to the same conclusion as before. Then, when he mind was settled, she was finally able to rest.
“Acacia!” Acacia awoke with a start. Someone pulled her out of bed into one of the strongest embraces she’d ever felt. Seconds later, another person joined the hug. When they finally released her, she realized who they were.
It was her parents. Her real ones. And they were crying.
“How did you get back? Where were you? We’ve missed you so much!” They bombarded her with more questions and exclamations than she could respond to. When it sunk in where she was, back in her own bedroom in New Hampshire, she threw herself into another hug and started crying herself.
“I don’t know,” she said through the tears, “I was gone, but now I’m back. I missed you.”
“We thought you’d been kidnapped. We thought you were dead,” her mother was telling her while stroking her hair and face, making sure she was real. “You’ve been gone for a year. We’d given up hope of ever finding you again and now here you are as if you’ve never left.”
Acacia looked at her, surprised at this show of emotion. “You missed me?” she asked, “I mean, you really missed me?”
Her parents looked hurt by this remark. “Of course we did. You’re our daughter. We love you.”
She hugged them again. She knew she’d made the right choice, however her wish had come true.
When Merry woke up, the first thing he saw was the light streaming through the window on to the floor. He gazed at it for several seconds, trying to figure out why it didn’t look quite right. Suddenly, he remembered everything.
His head spun around to the bed. She was gone. His stomach jumped into his throat. He was through the door almost before his feet hit the floor.
“Acey!” he yelled, running through Brandy Hall like a spooked horse. His mother caught him as he zoomed past.
“Slow down. What’s wrong?” she asked him, obviously concerned by his behavior.
“Acey! Where is she?” he demanded.
Esmerelda shook her head. “I haven’t seen her. Last I knew she was still in her room. I thought you two had left together when I wasn’t looking.”
Merry looked like he’d been punched in the gut. His eyes glazed over. “She’s gone,” he whispered.
Esmerelda looked at her son, her eyes suddenly full of worry. “Gone where?”
He looked up at her, a sad peace washing over his face. “Back to her home. Back where she belongs.”
She tried to get more out of him, but he just wandered off in a daze. She ran to tell her husband.
Merry wandered the halls, not quite sure how to react, until he found himself near the nursery. It was almost always empty now, but he heard movement inside, so he went in.
He made his way to the crib, where he found Pippin asleep. He gazed down at his little cousin. So tiny now, but soon, he knew, he would be big enough to talk and walk. He stared for a long time at the little body. He knew Acacia was right. Family was the most important thing on Arda. As a hobbit, he should have known this already, but he needed a stranger to come into his life and remind him. Now, she had her family again, and he had his.
Slowly, he allowed a smile to make its way across his face.
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.