5. A Light in Dark Places
Pippin slept long and deeply, peacefully asleep both times Elrond checked on him. He woke in time for lunch, where he apologized profusely for making such a fuss the night before.
"Here, Frodo." Pippin started to give back the necklace, but Frodo stopped him.
"You don't have to give it back right away, Pip." He smiled at his cousin. "It's very special, isn't it? About time I stopped being so selfish with it."
A look of relief washed over Pippin's face but he tried to hide it. "Thanks. I'll take good care of it, I promise."
"I know you will. Are you eating that third cake or not?"
"Of course I am!" The cake was halfway to Pippin's mouth when his hand stopped. "But you can have half."
Pippin had run off and Frodo was about to leave the table when Gandalf came into the room. Frodo motioned for the wizard to join him.
"I heard there was a little excitement last night, Frodo."
"It was Pippin, he had a nightmare about the palantír and the wraiths." Frodo sighed. "It was pretty bad, but he seems fine today."
Gandalf looked thoughtful. "Pippin has shown remarkable resilience with that experience. I believe he's the only person during the War to have had contact, in some form or other, with all three palantíri."
"I never thought of that."
"Tell me of this nightmare," Gandalf said.
Frodo told him everything he could remember of what Pippin had said. "One of us will stay with him tonight in case he has another bad dream."
Gandalf nodded. "Let me know if he does." He looked down at an odd-shaped bag at Frodo's feet. "What do you have there?"
"It's my old sword, the one that broke when.. at the Ford. I found it in Bilbo's room, he kept it all this time. I thought I would have it re- forged for Merry since his was destroyed. I'm sure he misses it." He removed from the bag the hilt and shards of the beautiful, leaf-shaped blade of Westernesse and ran his hand over them gently.
"Seek for the sword that was broken," Gandalf quoted softly.
Frodo looked up and smiled. "Very funny."
"Gandalf, the rhyme meant the sword of Isildur, as you well know. Not the blade of a hobbit."
Frodo's smile faded. "I don't think-----"
"There shall be counsels taken stronger than Morgul-spells," Gandalf continued quoting. "Certainly it was a blade such as this, wielded by Merry, that undid the spell that bound together the body of the Nazgûl chieftain." Frodo was staring at him. "Who can say exactly what the voice in Boromir's dream intended, or from which source it derived. Can you?"
Frodo sighed. "I think I'll leave the riddles to Bilbo and the unraveling of destiny to you. Next thing you'll be telling me is that "the Halfling forth shall stand" didn't mean me."
"Now that you mention it.." Gandalf chuckled as Frodo leaped down from the chair in mock dismay. Suddenly the hobbit got a faraway look in his eye, as if listening to something.
"I think I hear a voice, Gandalf. It must be destiny calling me.... to Bilbo's room!"
They both laughed, and Frodo left the room.
The hobbits spent most of that afternoon and evening in Bilbo's room narrating their parts of the Quest. If Bilbo fell asleep they simply waited, patiently, until he awoke and then recommenced speaking where they had left off.
Frodo and Sam had gotten as far as the winding stair in Cirith Ungol and the disappearance of Gollum when Bilbo nodded off again.
Pippin sighed and looked at Frodo. "Merry and I never got to see Gollum, did we? It's hard to imagine exactly what he looked like. All withered and cramped over and hissing?"
Frodo smiled. "Yes, Pip, that's him exactly." He looked thoughtful. 'You know, there are a lot of things you never got to see." With that, he pulled the Phial of Galadriel out of a pocket and held it up, glowing softly in his hand.
"Sure we did, Frodo," said Merry. "We saw it when the Lady gave it to you."
"No," said Frodo quietly, "You've never really seen it." He turned to Sam and pressed the Phial into his friend's hand. "Sam, I want you to tell Merry and Pippin about the spider and what you did."
"But Mr. Bilbo isn't-----"
"We'll tell him another time. Go on, Sam, tell them."
Sam looked confused. "You want me to hold this while I tell them?"
Sam took a deep breath and started talking. About how they had been left alone in the utter darkness, about Gollum's treachery, the giant webs, and Frodo being attacked by Shelob. With a nod from Frodo, Sam went on, reluctantly telling about his rage, about picking up Sting and avenging what he thought was his best friend's death. About how he felt when it seemed that the entire Quest, the fate of all of Middle-earth, had fallen somehow into his hands. As Frodo had hoped, the Phial burned brighter and brighter as Sam spoke, as if Sam's courage and indominable spirit were forever a part of the star-glass he held. Frodo heard Pippin gasp as the room suddenly blazed with light. Sam's voice faltered and stopped, and slowly the Phial faded back to its usual soft glow.
Frodo sat back, satisfied, at the looks on Merry and Pippin's faces. Awe, amazement, wonder. And respect. He had wanted them somehow to see the Sam *he* saw, the light, the courage and strength, his incredible spirit, and finally they had. He knew they would never look at Sam the same way again.
Frodo's glance fell on the Red Book that rested on Bilbo's table. He didn't know if Bilbo really planned on finishing it, or writing down their story. I'll finish it, he thought, if I have to. So everyone will know the story. He looked at Sam. So everyone will know.
Pippin had tears running down his face and Merry was just staring at Sam. No one spoke.
Sam smiled at Frodo, for once unaware of his friend's thoughts. "It surely was nice to see that again, wasn't it?"
Frodo laughed. "It surely was, Sam." He realized Pippin and Merry needed a moment to collect themselves. "You know, Sting is certainly well named. Bilbo used it to attack spiders and so did you. Isn't that something?"
"Quite right sir, I never thought of that!"
Frodo stretched and yawned. "It's getting late. Pip, would it be all right if one of us stayed with you just for tonight? It might be nice to have some company."
Pippin was still looking a bit dazed. "Could, could Sam stay with me? And tell me that story again?"
"Er, sure, Mr. Pippin, I'd be happy to," said Sam, surprised but pleased. "Here, sir." He started to give the Phial back to Frodo. "You'd better put it away safe."
Frodo shook his head. "You and Pippin can keep it tonight, Sam. It couldn't be safer."