3. The Pippening
Winter came; the skies barfed snow the likes of which the Shire hadn't seen since… last winter. Inside Bad End, Bilbo Baggins hummed a little song to himself as he worked at his hobby (and obsession) of cleaning his home – so efficiently as to be queer even in Hobbiton.
Scrub the walls, scrub the doors,
Scrub 'em till ya can't scrub no mores.
That's what Bilbo Baggins likes!
Wipe the mantle, wipe the chamber pot,
Wipe the ceiling till there ain't a damn'd spot!
That's what Bilbo Baggins likes!
Dust the soap, dust the candelabra –
As he balanced precariously from a chair to wipe the wall-attached candelabra (hand-crafted in the shape of a Dragon) a CRASH resonated through the Hobbit-hole, sending Bilbo into the air. He grabbed the candelabra and, dangling, stared at the welded, candle-retching Dragon's face. Following the CRASH came a squeal: "Wheeeeee! I'm cool!"
Bilbo gritted his teeth as he hung for his life. It could only be…
"Peregrine Took!" he called. "Go home!"
"I'm not doing nothing," said the inane Hobbit-lad. Another CRASH.
Then like a whirlwind, like a herd of oliphants, Pippin trampled in with endless energy once bound in the sugar of cookies and cakes that made up his five daily meals. "I ran away from home FOREVER."
"Not again," groaned the monocled Baggins. The Dragon candelabra tore from the wall; Bilbo crashed to the floor in a shower of dust and jewels that he had stuffed behind the Dragon.
Pippin stuffed as many sparkling gems into his trousers as he could ere his uncle recovered. Needless to say, Bilbo got as many back as he could, namely by shaking Pippin out by his toes.
"You're mean," whined Pippin.
"Go bother Frodo."
In the sitting room, Frodo was writing what looked like invitations to the whole Shire. At least twenty-five stacks of gold-addressed envelopes towered up to the rounded ceiling. Since autumn, the chubby cherubs painted on the ceiling had boredly watched Frodo at this labor.
"Let me see!" wailed Pippin.
"Go away!" Frodo tried to bodily hide the stacks. It was all, by Bilbo's orders, to be hush-hush.
"No!!!" Pippin dashed in but only to play with the secret door hidden in the bookcase. Bilbo believed no one knew about it though everybody did. (Sam Gamgee could not keep a secret.) The secret door soon tiring him, Pippin began tossing books off the shelves. Money flew out of the pages of each of the tomes.
Frodo looked up at the fluttering bills. "That is it. Get out," he quietly roared.
"No!!!" Pippin replied. He flew from the room, screaming "Wheeeee!" with all the power of his lungs. Neither of the Baggins saw nor heard (nor smelt) him for a good hour. Whether that was a good thing is left open for question.
Seeing as a meal was overdo – two hours since the last!! – Bilbo and Frodo prepared a quick repast of boiled lobster, buttered potatoes, and Cap'n Círdan's Cram Cakes® (not the cheap brand). About this time, the young Took reappeared, following the trail of scents. "I wanna help!" He plunged salt, pepper, and paprika into the pot of cooking potatoes, jars and all. Frodo bit a ladle to keep from screaming something very vile.
"And what were you doing?"
"I repainted the parlor," answered Pippin.
Bilbo shouted from the dining room: "Tell the rip to set the table – if he wants to earn his meal."
"Pippin, set the table."
"Mmmrrff! You're draining me of my youth!"
But Pippin did "set" the table, anyway, throwing the plates onto the table so they cracked and tossing the knives and forks so they stuck in the walls.
They sat down. Pippin yelled about how he had helped make the potatoes and Frodo did not tell him that he gave the indigestible concoction to the Gamgees. When Pippin was done with his share of cram cakes, and after munching on a few lobster shells, he ran from the room, though not before taking the cram from the other two's plate-shards. Bilbo and Frodo spoke business for the next half hour, of how they would by some sort of device lob off Otho Sackville-Baggins's head next time he stuck it over the fence. Then they got up, intending to quietly plot some more in the sitting room. But when they arrived, the sitting room was full of snow – no, Frodo caught a flake with his hand – shredded paper.
"I made a paperman!" shrilled Pippin proudly. Gone were the twenty-five stacks of hand-written invitations, and in their place was what looked like a giant spitball, Pippin jigging with glee around it. Frodo's face began to turn many colors.
"Now, now," said Bilbo, patting Frodo's shoulder comfortingly with his staff, no longer topped with the gaudy emerald but the wicked blue Eye of the Monkey. "There's no reason to be upset with the boy. A bit of imagination is good, you know; helps one vent one's malice later in life."
"I'm cool!" suggested Pippin; he tugged Bilbo's sleeve. "Uncle Bilbo, we was playing, and I was the finder, and Precious was the hider, and I can't find him, and…"
Pippin ducked; Bilbo's fingers gripped where his neck had been just a moment before. Shrieking, Pippin darted out of the room, into the hallway, crashing towards to the front door. Wheezing with paper-bits in his lungs, B. Baggins thundered after; but the young Took was fuller of sugar and had made it to the round door. Pippin tore the door from its hinges, pausing just long enough to smirk at Bilbo and flash a few rubies in the crisp air that he had still hidden in his trousers. Then he threw the door into the snow, with a wheeee, sledding all the way to Tookland.
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.