Once the decision had been made, they wasted no time. Rosie left that night. The next day passed mostly in peace. Frodo stayed in bed, no worse than the day before, but no better. Sam stayed with him while Merry and Pippin tried to find out what they could in town. What they discovered was not encouraging. Several other people had left, a couple entire families, even. Almost all pets were locked up. Their owners did not want to find themselves in Farmer Maggot’s situation. While during the day the people seemed as hobbity as ever, when night fell it was as a blanket of solemnity over the town. There were fewer hobbits in the streets and pub. Merry and Pippin returned to Bag End with dampened spirits.
Late in the night, Pippin awoke with a terrible thirst. He lay there for a minute, trying to make the thirst go away and get back to sleep. It didn’t work. With a grunt of annoyance, he crawled out of his bed and slumped across the room. Not bothering to light a candle, he slogged down the hall and into the kitchen, got himself a glass of water, then started back.
When he got partway down the hall, he froze. Eyebrows raised, his head slowly turned toward Frodo’s door. He stepped toward it. Slowly, his hand reached out for the door knob. Soft rustling came from within. With hardly a sound, the door opened and Pippin stepped in.
Frodo didn’t notice his entrance. Frodo didn’t seem to be noticing much of anything. He lay in his bed at an odd angle, his left arm flung above his head and one leg hanging off the side of the bed. Pippin froze, stunned by the sight before him. There was a figure in bed with Frodo. It cradled him in it’s arms, rocking back and forth a bit. It was almost sweet, like holding a baby, but for one thing. The strange figure had it’s head lowered and it seemed very much to Pippin that its mouth was clamped on Frodo’s neck.
The water glass slipped from Pippin’s fingers and shattered on the ground, but the intruder took no notice of it. Suddenly, Pippin’s mouth dropped open in terrible recognition.
“Merry! What are you doing?!”
The room was dark, but it appeared that neither of the other hobbits even heard him. Seconds later, Sam burst into the room, bearing a bright candle. For a split second, he, too, could only stare in shock at the strange sight before him. The glow of the candle cast a surreal and eerie light on the two other hobbits. Frodo was washed out, pale, but with a look of peace on his features. And there was Merry, eyes closed, clutching him in his arms, mouth moving like a nursing baby over the soft skin of Frodo’s neck.
Finally, Sam’s instincts kicked in. Dropping the candle, he ran to the bed, followed by Pippin. Grabbing Frodo with one arm, he used the other to push Merry away. Pippin jumped on the bed behind Merry and pulled his cousin off Frodo. Sam laid Frodo gently back on the bed and frantically checked to see if he was alive. When he checked Frodo’s neck for a pulse, he pulled his fingers back covered in blood. Pippin slammed Merry against the wall.
“Are you crazy?!”
For the first time, Merry’s eyes popped open. They weren’t angry or hungry, but rather confused and concerned.
“Pippin?” he asked as if the other had interrupted his reading, “What is it?”
Pippin couldn’t have hidden his astonishment if he’d tried. “What is it?” he repeated, “What is it?! That’s it!” He pointed at Frodo, who was barely moving and groaning weakly. “You’re a vampire, Merry!”
“What?” Merry asked, getting a little annoyed now, “You wake me up in the middle of the night to accuse me of being something that doesn’t exist? Have you been drinking, Pippin?”
“No,” Pippin said angrily, with a degree of confusion creeping into his voice, “but you have.”
“What do you—” Merry’s question fell from his lips as he finally tasted something in his mouth. His brow furrowed as he ran his tongue experimentally along his lips. His eyes widened in shock when his tongue hit something he wasn’t used to. He raised his fingers to his mouth to feel the two large fangs that hung down from his upper teeth. His fingers pulled back before his face and he saw the blood smeared on them.
“Ugh!” he yelled in utter revulsion, knocked Pippin’s hands away from him and bolted from the room.
After sharing a concerned, perplexed look with Sam, Pippin followed him.
He found Merry in the kitchen, frantically washing his mouth out. Over and over he swished water around his mouth then spat it out the window.
Pippin approached cautiously. He slid slowly across the floor, speaking in a soft, gentle voice. “Do you mean...you didn’t know what you were doing?”
Merry turned to him, looking sick. With the blood gone, the fangs had disappeared. He wiped the water from his mouth with a towel. His eyes were angry, like he’d been treated very unfairly. “What I did?” he asked in a low, choking voice, “You mean did I know that all night when I thought I was sleeping quietly in my bed, I was really in Frodo’s room...” he couldn’t finish the sentence. The thought of it caused his stomach to heave. He could barely get his head out the window before he puked. His eyes clenched, he brought his lowered head slowly inside again.
“Actually,” Pippin mused, “This would explain why Frodo’s been so ill lately. You’ve probably been doing that ever since we arrived.” He ended almost cheerfully, glad to have discovered the answer to a riddle.
But it didn’t make Merry feel any better. He threw his head out the window again as he hurled the contents of his stomach on the grass. When he finished, unfortunately, he opened his eyes before his head was back inside. When he saw the vomited blood on the ground before him, he puked again.
Pippin winced in sympathy. He heard footsteps behind him and saw Sam glaring at Merry’s back, not at all sympathizing with his sickened state.
“How’s Frodo?” Pippin asked him.
“He’ll live,” Sam grunted, “as long as he doesn’t lose any more blood.”
They stood there in an uncomfortable silence, just watching Merry retch out the window.
“Well,” Pippin said finally, “at least we know what was wrong with him.”
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.