4. Comfort in the Night
It was long past midnight when Merry heard the scream. He came out of a sound sleep instantly, leaping out of bed and running out into the corridor. Almost at the same moment Sam burst out of his room, as did Frodo. They looked at each other, realized who was missing, and as one, they raced to Pippin's room.
Frodo arrived a second before the others and raced through the doorway to see his cousin sitting up in the huge bed. Pippin was breathing hard and looked terrified. Frodo ran to the bed, gathering Pippin into his arms. Pippin gasped and clung to him with all his strength. Merry and Sam climbed up on the bed beside them.
Pippin was shaking and covered with perspiration, and Frodo just held him tight and stroked his hair. "Was it a dream, Pip?" He felt a nod. "Must have been pretty bad. We're here, Pip, you're safe. Shhh, now. We're here." Pippin relaxed a tiny bit, but Frodo could feel his cousin's wildly beating heart. 'It's all right," he repeated. "You're safe."
Pippin slumped weakly against Frodo's chest. "Oh Frodo," he moaned, "It was terrible."
"Do you want to tell us about it?"
Pippin shuddered and clutched at Frodo tighter. His head was starting to ache.
Frodo had a sudden idea. He took one of Pippin's hands, which were grasping his nightshirt, and brought it up to his neck. He closed Pippin's hand around Arwen's gem. "See if that helps," Frodo whispered.
Pippin immediately felt a little better. He was still frightened, but it was as if he had stepped aside from the terror, could view it from a bit of a distance. "Oh," he breathed.
Frodo was relieved to feel Pippin relax a little more. He looked up to see several Elves crowded in the doorway, alerted by the scream. "Thank you," he said softly, "We're all right." They bowed and departed.
Pippin took a deep breath. "W.. We were back in Rohan with the horsemen, that night, and there was that, that glass ball again." He took another deep breath. "The ball was huge, much bigger than I was. So much bigger. Then I saw the wraiths inside it, they were looking at me, but this time one of them grabbed me and pulled me right inside the ball and, and it was dark and so cold and...." He shook his head. "It was so real...." He felt Merry's hand squeeze his shoulder.
"Oh Pip," Frodo murmured, "What an awful dream."
"I don't know why I dreamed about it," Pippin said shakily, "I haven't thought about.. that.. in ever so long."
"This is my fault," Merry burst out angrily. "I was showing him the map today of where we were dragged through Rohan. I'm surprised you didn't dream about Orcs, Pip."
"Orcs aren't as bad as.. as.." Pippin whispered.
"No," said Frodo gently. "Orcs are pretty awful, but they're not as bad as wraiths. We both know that, don't we?"
"Pip, listen to me." Frodo kept his voice calm and soothing. "When the Ring was destroyed, all the wraiths were gone. Just like that. Except for the one your brave cousin Merry got to first, that is." He looked down to see a tiny smile on Pippin's face. "All the wraiths are gone, Pip, and Sauron's palantír is crushed and buried in the ruins of the Black Tower. Aragorn has the only palantír left, he's the only one who could ever see you in it. And that's all right, isn't it? If our friend Strider keeps an eye on us for awhile?"
Pippin nodded. "That's all right."
"Here," said Frodo, "Why don't you wear this for a few days?" He slipped the chain over his head and hung the gem around Pippin's neck, Pippin still holding tight to it.
Frodo looked at him closely. "Are you in pain?"
"My head hurts," Pippin whispered.
Merry sprang off the bed, relieved to be useful. "I'll see if I can find Elrond. He knows all about healing." He dashed out of the room, and Frodo continued to hold Pippin close, talking quietly to him.
In about ten minutes Merry came back into the room holding a mug about a quarter full of a warm, fragrant liquid. "I found Elrond, he said this should help Pippin's headache.... and help him get back to sleep. He'll come to see him a little later." He held out the mug and Frodo took it. Pippin sniffed the contents suspiciously.
Frodo smiled. "Don't worry, if this is the same stuff they dosed me with last year when I was.. hurt, it actually tastes pretty good." He looked into the mug. "Elrond just gave you a little bit. You shouldn't have any more dreams tonight. Wraiths were after me in my dreams too, before we got to Rivendell last year. But this time they're gone, Pip, they're really and truly gone." Pippin took the mug and slowly drank down the tea. After a few minutes the frightening images started to blur and fade a little, and he relaxed against Frodo, fingering the gem.
"Does your headache feel a little better?"
"Mmm hmm," Pippin murmured, his eyelids starting to droop. Sam brought over a fresh nightshirt, and Pippin released his hold on the gem long enough for Merry and Frodo to pull his damp one over his head and replace it with the new one. Frodo lay Pippin back down on the bed and covered him with the blanket.
Merry lay down as well. "I'll stay with him for awhile."
Frodo gave Pippin one last hug, then he and Sam left the room. Once out in the corridor Sam turned to Frodo, shaking his head in admiration.
"All those things you said, Mr. Frodo, they were just perfect. He was so scared, not sure what was real and what wasn't, and you made him feel so much better."
Frodo looked at him and smiled. "It's what you did for me, Sam, every day in Mordor." He closed his eyes, remembering. "Every single day."
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.