There was a silence before Sam said, “Isn’t that what I was aiming at before, Mr. Frodo?”
“Yes, Sam,” Frodo replied, “But I didn’t want to go there until I knew we had no other options.”
“We may have made things worse,” Sam was getting worked up. His voice was rising as he strode the couple paces to where Frodo sat. “If anyone finds out what we did to that cow, we’ll be in hot water for sure and then who’ll help Mr. Merry?”
“Calm down, Sam,” Frodo told him, getting a little worried at the way Sam was acting, “If anyone asks us about it, we’ll find some way to explain it.”
“But what if they don’t believe us?” Sam asked, then started rolling up his sleeve once again, “No, we’ve got to make Merry better now.”
Frodo jumped out of his chair to grab Sam’s arm, looking at him with pleading eyes, “You can’t! We’ll find another way.”
“This is what he needs,” Sam told him, his expression softening at Frodo’s look, “There is no other way.”
“There’s always another way,” Frodo insisted, “We’ll get help somehow. But I won’t have anyone else going through what I went through or worse. Besides, if Merry found out, he’d never trust himself near us again. It’s for him that you mustn’t do it.”
This seemed to pacify Sam, who just pursed his lips and nodded. That’s when they heard Pippin’s groan. It was just a short, weak thing – one that clearly said pain. They turned to look at him, too late now to stop him.
He held the glass in his right hand, resting just under his right wrist. His little pocket knife, traced with red, sat on his knee. He grimaced as he watched the blood flow from the cut in his wrist into the glass. He had struck a vein and the blood was coming quickly. Frodo ran to him.
“Pippin, what are you doing?” he asked in a panic.
“You said it, Frodo,” the young hobbit answered, “It had to be this.”
“We don’t know that,” Frodo said, trying to grab the cup away from him. Pippin pulled his hands out of Frodo’s reach.
“Don’t try to stop me,” he said, “I’m not going to let Merry die!”
He spoke with such force that Frodo stopped and held back. Sam came behind him with the bandages he’d ran to fetch. “The glass is almost full,” Sam said, “We’d best stop the bleeding now.”
When the glass was full, Pippin relented and handed it to Frodo. He let Sam wrap his wrist tight with a bandage then raised it above his head, putting pressure on it with his other hand. His face was solemn. “Now give it to him.”
Frodo hesitated for a moment, then nodded gravely. Merry was still asleep, fallen back now on the pillow. Sam lifted his head while Frodo held the glass to his still mouth.
Almost instantly, Merry began to drink. Just sipping at first, but then deep and greedily. As he did so, Frodo could see the fangs that had seemed to grow from his own teeth. When he had emptied the cup, Frodo pulled it back, but Merry followed it with his mouth. He grabbed it in his hands, trying to lick the last drops out.
Frodo released the glass, startled. He looked at Sam, who appeared just as shocked by the sudden fierce action. When he could get no more from the glass, Merry sniffed the air. Soon he was directed to Pippin, who just had time to look frightened before Merry jumped on him, grabbed his wrist and tore the bandage off.
“Merry, no! Merry! You’re hurting me!” Pippin’s voice got shriller and more panicked until it became simply a screech of pain. Merry didn’t heed it as he latched his mouth on Pippin’s wrist, tearing it open further in his voracity. Sam and Frodo leaped on Merry, trying to pull him away from Pippin. He was too strong and his hold on his cousin too fierce. Finally, fearing for Pippin’s life, Sam did a desperate thing. He picked up Pippin’s knife and stabbed Merry.
This woke him up. Now Merry howled in pain, releasing his grip and staring wide-eyed at the hilt protruding from his side. He looked at the other three hobbits and found similar expressions, all generally shocked at the situation they found themselves in.
“What...” Merry started, then saw Pippin and understood. Pippin lay on the ground, propped up on his elbow, blood flowing from his wrist onto the wooden floor. And while Merry saw surprise in his cousin’s gaze, he also saw something he had never expected those eyes would direct at him.
“Oh, no,” Merry whispered, “Oh, Pippin, what have I done?”
“It’s all right,” Pippin told him, though his voice broke as he said it, “I was trying to help you. It’s my fault.”
Merry found himself on his hands and knees, staring at his best friend and blood-kin, and he had no words. “No...” he mumbled, “no, no, no, no,” he got to his feet, running a hand through his hair in frustration, then dashed out the door and they could still hear him as he went, “nonononononono...”
Frodo stood. “Sam.”
“Right,” Sam answered, already pulling out another bandage for Pippin. Frodo ran out the door after Merry.
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.