2. A Silent Farewell
Pippin sat back down next to Merry and the box, dusting off his hands. "Yes, Merry, it's buried. My gosh, who would have thought a bit of leftover food could smell like that?"
"Bread, cheese, and fruit that has been lying in a pack, out in the woods, for four *years* is going to stink, believe me." Merry shook his head. "At least your pipeweed pouch masked it a bit. Are you *sure* it's well buried?"
"Yes! And don't tell me you don't have any food in *your* pack, Meriadoc, because I know you must."
"If I remember correctly, just a bit of lembas," said Merry with a smile. "I always counted on you or Sam having a snack if I needed one."
"Four-year-old lembas," said Pippin, looking awed. "Think it's still good?"
"We'll open my pack in a minute and find out," said Merry, looking at the clothes Pippin had pulled out of his pack, lying in a wrinkled heap. "We have *got* to get all our stuff laundered first thing in the morning. I doubt much of it will fit now, but we should keep it." Merry grinned. "Maybe Strider can put your worn breeches and shirts in his display for all of Gondor to gawk at! Along with this comb you *never* used, and----"
"He's not getting this," said Pippin softly, running his hand lightly over the silver belt from Lórien. "I forgot how beautiful this was, Strider didn't even let us wear them once we were on the River. I can hear him now, 'We must put away anything that might reflect the sun and attract attention'. " Each heavy link of the belt was engraved with leaves, with a golden clasp in the shape of a flower. Pippin frowned and bent over the belt, examining it. "Merry, I think this clasp is pure gold. Did you notice that before?"
"No," said Merry. "That's a lot of wealth in your hands, Peregrin Took. You could probably buy half the Shire with that."
"Sell this?" Pippin was aghast at the thought. "Never. This was from the Lady." He put down the belt and gathered up the pile of clothes. "We had so little with us," he sighed. "All the bedrolls and water bottles and rope and food and such were still in the boats. Good thing I kept my pipes under my shirt or I wouldn't have even had----" Suddenly Pippin frowned as he felt something unusual among the clothes. He dropped everything save a strip of cloth tied around something small and hard.
"What's that?" Merry asked. "More coins?"
"This isn't mine," said Pippin, untying the cloth. He suddenly gasped and stared into his hand, tears welling up in his eyes.
"What is it?"
Unable to speak, Pippin opened his hand. Merry stared in disbelief, then looked up at Pippin.
"Pip, you didn't *take* that, did you?"
Pippin stared at Merry, wide eyed. "Oh Mer, I could never have taken this." He put the small object gently on the ground between them.
"I remember in the snow when Boromir pulled me under that wonderful fur- lined cloak he had from Gondor," Pippin said, remembering. "I couldn't take my eyes off this clasp. I had never seen anything so beautiful. Boromir told me all about it, later, about how it was his grandfather's, then his father's, then his. It was one of his most prized possessions." Pippin looked at the clasp on the floor, the intricate filigreed silver wrought with gems and gold. "After a few days he joked that I was pretending to be cold just so I could be close to it!"
"I remember," said Merry softly. "He left it for you, he must have. Oh Pip, he was going home, and he must have known Frodo wouldn't go with him. He thought he was going off alone to the West with the rest of us going off East, and he must have..." Merry reached out to touch the clasp. "He wanted you to have it."
"Mer, do you think," Pippin swallowed hard. "Do you think he left anything for you?"
Merry smiled at him. "No, Pip. I think this is all he had to leave us."
Pippin couldn't speak. He picked up the clasp again and pressed it gently to his heart. Merry moved next to him, sitting quietly. Pippin lay his head on Merry's shoulder trying to hold off the tears, but finally he simply turned, buried his head in Merry's chest, and wept.
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.