Merry stared at the floor, not daring to meet the flaming gaze that he yet felt on his face.
“Frodo could have died,” the stone-hard voice hit like an anvil strike in the silence of the night.
Merry’s reply was barely above a pained whisper, “I know, Sam, and believe me, I didn’t – I don’t – want this to happen.”
“But it has, Merry,” Sam said, his voice overly harsh, “It is happening!”
“And it is as much news to him as to us,” Pippin broke in, defending his cousin.
Sam softened slightly, “How did this happen? I mean, to you?”
They looked at Merry expectantly, but he just looked back blankly. “I have no idea,” he blurted out finally, rather defensive.
Sam stood up, doubt painted over his face, “I expect that’s the sort of thing a person would notice.”
“So would I,” Merry said, standing also, mimicking Sam’s motion.
“You were with him most,” Sam said, turning to Pippin, “Did you not see anything?”
“I wasn’t there every second,” Pippin protested, then something seemed to occur to him, “But now that I think of it, you were out during the day. Isn’t sunlight harmful to vampires?”
“Oh, please don’t say that word,” Merry groaned.
Pippin grinned wickedly. “Vampire,” he whispered, “Vampire, vampire, vampire. You’re a vaaaampiiiirrre.”
“Quiet!” Merry and Sam both said and Pippin’s smile disappeared.
“So,” Sam began, taking on a more rational tone, “You were turned into a vampire, but you don’t know how or when. You’ve been attacking at least one person in your sleep, presumably every night, but you didn’t know you were.” He paused as they all catalogued this information. “What do we do about it?”
As soon as the sun rose, Pippin set off to find Rosie. Sam stayed back to tend to Frodo, assisted (somewhat ironically) by a downcast Merry. Frodo’s condition was stabilized and he would occasionally wake long enough to get some fluids down, but he never really registered anything the other two said, nor did he really appear to be aware of their presence. With each hour that passed with no visible improvement, Merry felt his heart sinking further into his stomach.
Pippin arrived at the Cottons’ around noon. He pounded (a little too fervently) on the door, then stood huffing, leaning on the doorframe until Rosie’s brother opened the door.
“Good day,” Pippin said, finally catching his breath, “Is Rosie here?”
“Pippin?” Rosie came to the door and welcomed him in. As he rested in the living room, Rosie brought in a tray of tea and crackers. He thanked her and helped himself. She sat across from him and waited for him to say something, but he just kept eating crackers.
“I don’t want to sound rude, but what are you doing here?” she finally asked him.
He looked up, his mouth half-full of cracker. “Right,” he said, swallowing, “We need your help with something.”
“Of course,” she said, growing worried, “Is something wrong?”
“Well, yes. See, uh...” he sighed, not knowing where to start.
“Spit it out, Pippin.”
“Merry’s a vampire and he’s been sucking Frodo’s blood every night since we arrived but he didn’t know it and now we’ve got to find a cure before Frodo dies or some other terrible thing happens.” He said it all in one breath while she just sat staring blankly. When he took another breath, he raised his eyebrows in question. “Rosie?”
Her voice was barely above a whisper; she was using all her strength to stay composed, “What do you want me to do?”
“I need you to do some research. Find out everything you can about vampires. History, fact, even legend. Whatever you can find. We don’t know what might help. Just make sure you don’t tell anyone why you’re doing it.”
“You’d better head back,” she said, not bothering give her assent, “Sam and Frodo need your help.”
Pippin got up and headed for the door, “Thanks for the tea, Rosie. Let us know when you’ve found something.”
After he’d left, she wasted no time.
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.