of a Took
Archive: If you liked it, just ask
Time line: The Palantir
Summary: Curiosity killed the cat – but
what did it do to Pippin?
Disclaimer: Middle Earth and all its inhabitants,
the Sundering seas and Over-heaven belong to the incredible
genius that was J.R.R. Tolkien. No copyright infringement is
intended, I am not making money from this at all, and will always
stay in deep and humble adoration of the wonderful world he
has created and in which I have lived since I was 4 years old.
Thank you. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, or so
they say. I hope this is at least a little flattering and enough
to make the great man smile from up there.
Author's Note: If I understand it correctly,
some time passed before Gandalf went to talk to Aragorn. The
story takes place in that span of time. I found it awfully odd
that Merry was the only one who couldn’t look at Pippin
after the Palantir incident. This story follows those events.
Dedication: To Kati-Wan, Fran
and Ambersky, for Baylor, Leslie
and sincerity - for we share a love for mushrooms.
And for Quiller. Who is just one of the world's angels.
humani ingenii libenter obscura creduntur.
(For blinded is man’s mind, everything
dark is believed by him.)
(applies to hobbits as well :o) )
He had spoken to Pippin, had
looked into his very eyes, his very soul. Cold, piercing eyes,
a mind that pulled his and could destroy him, a mind so cruel,
so vindictive, so fearfully intelligent.
The thought sent icy shivers down Pippin’s spine and his
limbs trembled fearfully.
Fool of a Took.
Gandalf was right. As usual. He was a fool, had even called
himself so. But it had hurt, hurt more than anything to hear
it from Merry.
Merry, the one person who had always understood, who had always
been on his side, who had always been with him, in whatever
Fool of a Took.
Four words, simple words.
Why did they hurt him so much?
Had it been the tone of voice his cousin had used? Or the heavy
frown he had had upon his face?
Fool of a Took.
Merry had looked at him for a long time after Gandalf had set
him down, then he had turned around and had left.
Left. Just left. Just like he had turned away earlier, leaving
Pippin alone where he was, trembling, with Gandalf frowning
at him and the rest of the fellowship eyeing him suspiciously.
The black sheep of the group, the jester, the fool. That’s
what he was. What he had always been. Did he serve any purpose
in the fellowship beyond making them laugh? He made them laugh
- but that was it. And now his foolishness had endangered them
Pippin swallowed hard around the lump in his throat. More than
anything he wanted to follow Merry and tell him what he had
seen. He needed the other hobbit to comfort him. The things
he had seen had been too much for him to comprehend. Too much
to bear alone.
But here he was. Bearing the burden of the fool.
He wiped angrily at his eyes and willed himself to stop shaking.
So Merry thought he was a fool, too. Let him think so. He ought
to know better, but Pippin was not going to correct him.
No matter how much Gandalf was still frowning, he had, after
all, forgiven Pippin, and said no grave harm had been done.
Why was Merry acting so coldly?
The other hobbit had changed. The battles they had seen had
changed them all, but Merry had changed more than Pippin felt
comfortable with. Not only was there the fact that he had grown
after the Ent-draught, but there was something in the other’s
eyes. Something very old. Merry had always been the clever one,
while he, Pippin, had been the one with the quick wits and the
unstoppable mouth. But Merry had never been cold towards him.
Fool of a Took.
Spat out, like a curse.
Pippin sighed miserably and glanced towards the canopy of stars,
twinkling like thousands of jewels in a velvety black sky. Nevertheless
the sight brought no comfort.
He had been sent to sleep. Sleep? That was the furthest thing
from his mind. He wouldn’t be able to find a good night’s
sleep knowing the things he knew. Not after seeing the things
he saw. Not after falling out with Merry.
Beyond the horror of the things he had seen, this last picture
stood out sharply, in a glaring white light. Merry's back turned
toward him, his shoulders squared, his head held high. Not looking
The young hobbit slumped on the earth, a pile of misery, not
noticing the light footsteps behind him.
Hands curled tightly around his bent legs, he huddled in the
bedding, chin resting on his knees, and stared off into the
"You shouldn’t be alone, little one." The musical
elvish voice seemed to belong to the night as well as to the
day. Sure, strong, yet soft.
Pippin briefly closed his eyes and sighed. "I don’t
think anyone will want me to be near now."
Legolas didn’t answer but sat down next to the hobbit.
"How do you feel, Pippin?"
The hobbit gave a startled gasp. Why was the elf even asking
him such a thing?
"Do I need a reason?"
This time, Pippin turned towards the elf in the dark. He stared
at the lithe figure. Wisps of the far-away firelight were dancing
on the long bright hair and the silver-green clothes, surrounding
Legolas with a somehow larger-than-life aura. Pippin had heard
a lot about elves - but could they read minds?
The archer gave him a small smile and repeated the question:
"How do you feel?"
"I . . . I don’t know. Strange. Guilty."
The young hobbit glanced warily up to the elf. "No. . .
. It’s more like . . ."
"I saw Merry leaving."
Pippin's shoulders slumped. Tears burned in his eyes.
A slim hand suddenly rested on his shoulder, a soothing, yet
strange touch. Legolas was not a hobbit. He couldn’t understand
. . . not like another hobbit would have. Not like Merry would
have. Should have.
"I am a danger to the fellowship," Pippin whispered,
defeat muting his reply. "He knows it. Everyone knows it.
He was right to leave. My curiosity has caused us great danger.
He was right to leave. He was right."
"Is that what you think, Pippin?" An enigmatic smile
played around the elf’s lips.
"What else could it be? Why else would he have left? He
called me a ‘fool of a Took.’ And he was
right! I only wished it wouldn’t . . ."
"Hurt so much?" Legolas finished for him.
The young hobbit hung his head without answering.
The hand on his shoulder squeezed lightly. "I don’t
think you’re drawing the right conclusion, my friend."
With that, Legolas rose and walked back to the firelight and
to Gimli, his feet never creating a sound on the soil.
Pippin wallowed in misery. He had disappointed all the remaining
members of the fellowship. And he guessed that even Frodo and
Sam would have been disappointed. Yet Gandalf had spoken kindly
to him, and Legolas hadn’t been hard with him. Just enigmatic.
Drawing the right conclusions? But he was, wasn’t he?
Why else would Merry have left?
His stomach growled embarrassingly loud and Pippin shot a quick
look over his shoulder to confirm if anyone had heard. For the
first time in his life he didn’t care for food. No matter
how much his stomach wanted it, he couldn’t have swallowed
a single bite. Not with Merry being so cold and . . .
"You’re going to lead the enemy straight to our camp
with this," a familiar voice grumbled behind him. Pippin
went rigid. The bedding slipped from his shoulders.
Had he come to deliver the crushing blow?
Just then he heard the distinct clatter of plates and cutlery.
A more-than-inviting smell wafted over to him.
What was this? Had Merry come to punish him properly? He cast
a timid glance at his cousin.
Familiar features greeted him. Merry, his head cocked slightly,
one leg set forward, the weight resting on the other, with two
plates in his hand and an impatient look upon his face, which
underlined his slightly off-centre features even more.
"Fool of a Took," Merry muttered while he sat down
cross-legged in front of his cousin. Pippin cringed and lowered
his eyes once more. It hurt. Just as much as it had hurt the
For a little while there was silence. The resinous smell of
the night mingled with the odour of the freshly fried bacon
and the hot mushrooms. Pippin’s stomach growled again.
"Are you going to wait until everything is stone-cold?
I made an effort with this, foolish Took."
Pippin raised his eyes to see Merry pushing one of the two plates
at him. He accepted, but still eyed his cousin warily.
"Where . . . why . . ." The younger hobbit sat the
plate down on his now-lowered legs and reached for the cutlery.
"I don’t understand this." The last sentence
was blurted out with utmost sincerity. Pippin was confused.
More confused than he had ever been.
"Fool of a Took," Merry muttered again. "Did
you really think I would leave you alone in this?" He cut
a slice of the bacon in half and munched on it, his face turning
much brighter in the process. "Peregrin Took, no hobbit
has ever let his mushrooms grow cold, so eat!"
Pippin hurried to comply and was rewarded with one of the best
mushroom stews he had ever tasted.
They ate in silence for a while, until Pippin burst out: "You
were so angry, I feared you would never speak to me again."
Merry gave him a wry grin. "You would have deserved it.
Foolish Took. I should have known you were harvesting mischief
in that little curly head of yours, but I never would have thought
. . ." He threw his fork down with a loud clatter and the
younger hobbit cringed once more. "You scared me half to
death, Pippin! When you screamed and I saw you there, speaking
in that voice, pale as a ghost . . . You foolish Took!"
He cleared his plate and then realised that his cousin was still
sitting with his half-eaten stew, eyes downcast.
"I’m sorry, Merry."
"You should be."
Pippin’s sinuses swelled and tears burned in his eyes,
threatening to overflow. "I am very, very sorry."
Merry glanced at the curly head in front of him. Half-hearted
anger turned into compassion. Compassion turned into the need
"Foolish Took," he muttered, tenderly this time. "Did
you really think I would throw away our friendship because of
that?" He took the plate out of Pippin’s hands and
placed it on the night-darkened soil. "Sometimes I wonder
what is going on under those unruly curls of yours, Pippin."
The dam burst. Tears flowed freely for a few minutes. Merry
reached over and ruffled his cousin’s hair until the younger
The tension drained away. They were friends.
Fool of a Took.