"Frodo?" Pippin asked softly but the older hobbit did not answer. His eyes kept their far-away look as Pippin sat down silently beside him and gazed up to the stars. Unlike Pippin, Frodo had always been of a broody sort and was even more so since deciding to leave the Shire.
"You have known about the Ring and my intentions for a long while and you probably made your decision to follow me a long time ago as well. Now you have seen the Black Rider. You have seen some of the danger that lies ahead of me. You know, I don't ask you, but are you still willing to follow me?"
Pippin was surprised to hear both concern and a silent plea in his cousin's voice and he was even more amazed to find Frodo's deep, blue eyes gazing directly into his. For a moment he felt exposed and bashfully lowered his eyes. Did his cousin know how frightened he was? Did he realise that he was not as light-hearted as he used to be? Slowly Pippin lifted his head, meeting his cousin's enquiring gaze and almost gasped at what he saw there. It seemed to him as if Frodo's very soul was exposed to him. He could see Frodo's fears, his concerns, his love for his home - the land as well as the inhabitants - and the pain it caused him to leave it behind for though he was still in Buckland, Frodo had already left the Shire behind. In his heart he had already said his farewells, locked away the treasured memories and planted a seedling of hope for a possible return. Pippin could see Frodo's insecurity, but also his determination. Frodo allowed him to see all that and more. He had said he would not ask him to come along and Pippin knew Frodo meant it, but he could also see the joy and relief he would give his cousin if he did not have to go alone.
"I am willing to follow you - now more than ever. You're my cousin, Frodo, and one of my dearest friends. I would follow you anywhere, be there danger or not." Though his voice was soft Pippin spoke with all his heart and he saw in his cousin's eyes that Frodo knew the honesty in his words. Love and admiration shimmered in the deep blue pools of Frodo's eyes as a silent sigh of relief escaped his lips and Pippin could not help smirking. "Besides, you are not going to have an adventure without me!" he declared.
Frodo broke into chuckles. "Indeed, I am not," he laughed as he put an arm around Pippin's shoulder and pulled the young hobbit close.
Recognising the joy in Frodo's voice and seeing the dark thoughtfulness in his eyes pass, Pippin could not help snickering.
"Well then, let us get some sleep. We will need our energy in the morning."
That said Frodo rose to his feet, adjusted his coat and glanced to the small house that would be his home only for tonight. Pippin looked at him a moment longer, not sure whether he should be surprised by his cousin's sudden change of mood or not. The starlight shimmered in his cousin's eyes and though they were still dark and deep they no longer revealed Frodo's very heart and soul, and that was comforting. He had to admit that he had felt just the tiniest bit uncomfortable when so much emotion was exposed to him.
Only when he heard Frodo chuckling did Pippin realise he had been yawning widely. His cousin was right; they needed to get some rest while they still could. With a dart Pippin got to his feet and allowed Frodo to put an arm around his shoulders as they made their way swiftly back into the house and, for now, locked out the darkness and troubles that awaited them.
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.