Written for: Nancylea
Requested: my list is short, [if they do hobbits even shorter] young hero, the younger the better but i would like him old enough to particapate in the story.
Setting: The Shire
Characters: Pippin, Merry, Frodo and various Tooks, Brandybucks and Bagginses
Summary: Pippin has good intentions.
Hero or no Hero, that is the question
Buckland, 3 days before Yule
It was just past the tenth hour, when Aster Brandybuck looked into the tear-streaked face of her daughter Melilot.
“Mother” the girl cried I cannot find Calla. I know that I put her into her bed just before we went to eat Second Breakfast and now she is gone. I can´t find her anywhere!”
Aster kissed her daughter on the cheek and wiped away a few tears. “I will help you look, darling. Come let’s go into your room! Are you sure that you put her in her bed?”
“Yes mother! I am very sure about that!” Tears were starting to fill the lasses eyes again. “I always put her into her bed, before I leave to eat second breakfast. What will I do without her? You know she is my favourite doll! Grandma gave her to me shortly before she died.”
Aster laid a hand over her daughter’s shoulder. “Hush darling, don’t cry. I am sure we will find her. Dolls can’t just vanish into nothing.”
Together mother and daughter searched high and low for the missing doll, but they had no luck.
When they were finished looking everywhere the second time, there came a knock at the door. Aster’s second daughter Minthe stuck her head in.
“Oh are you busy? I don´t want to interrupt, but Mellilot have you borrowed my new hair ribbons?”
Mellilot shook her head. “No sorry, Minthe, I haven’t, but might you have happened to have seen Calla somewhere?”
“No I haven´t. Did you lose her?”
“Well no, she has just vanished!”
“That’s strange! My ribbons have too. I am certain that I put them on my desk, but they are not there anymore.”
Aster sighed. “What a day!” She put her arms around each of her daughters’ shoulders. “Come on, we will go eat elevenses, and when we come back we will give the whole apartement a good search for the doll and the ribbons. Tasks are always easier with a full tummy.”
The lasses nodded and together they marched to the Hall’s dining room, still chatting about where else they could have placed their missing things.
Things were also not going well in another part of Brandy Hall. The loud voice of a lad could be heard shouting at another lad who responded in the same manner.
“Ilberic, give me my marbles back!”
“I do not have your marbles Doderic!”
“Of course you have them! Who else would have them? You wanted to have them yesterday the whole time we were playing. You said to Pippin at least three times, that you would like to have marbles like mine. Give them back!”
“But I really don’t have them!”
“I am no liar!” Ilberic screamed back at his big brother.
“Yes, you are!”
“No, am not!”
“What is the matter here?” a deep voice interrupted the lads’ argument.
“Doderic, Ilberic, what is the meaning of all this shouting?”
“Doderic called me a liar, father!” Ilberic cried.
“Because you are one!”
“Lads!” Seredic interrupted his sons again. “No more shouting, you two! What exactly is the problem?”
“Ilberic stole my marbles, father! I know he did! He wanted them, and now they are gone!”
“I didn’t take them father! I didn’t even want his stupid marbles!”
“Now, now, watch your language lad.” Seredic cautioned. He turned to his older son. “Doderic, maybe you just misplaced your marbles and….”
“I did not! He stole them!”
“LADS! Would you stop fighting please!” Seredic gave his sons a strict look and the boys stared sullenly at their feet.
“But he did steal them” Doderic mumbled under his breath.
“Did not” Ilberic hissed back.
“I don´t want to say it again!” Sederic cut in and lifted a warning eyebrow. “Both of you go to your rooms and look there for the marbles. I will start searching the sitting room. I am sure we will find them, lads, and,” he added, “stop flashing each other those hostile glances, I have eyes you know. Now, get to your rooms. Let’s start the big marble hunting, shall we?”
“All right.” the lads mumbled as they slowly walked to their rooms, still feeling quite put out with each other.
Seredic watched his sons going and sighed. “What a day!”
Hobbiton, 4 weeks earlier
Wind whipped the rain against the brightly shining windows of Bag End. The inhabitants of the smial did not let themselves be disturbed by it. They were sitting by a crackling fire, enjoying the warmth that permeated from it while they also savored tea, biscuits and tales of adventure.
The inhabitants were Bilbo and Frodo Baggins; two Hobbits who loved the words in all their wonderful variations.
Spoken, written or sung, in lyric and prose, in adventure or ancient history, they loved words. They even devoured words; letter by letter, page by page, book by book. Or they gave words to others, to listen to, to feel, to astonish them or to scare them. Words made magic come to life.
This rainy evening they had found a grateful listener.
Pippin Took, a small, slender hobbit lad, with big green eyes and funny reddish curls, stared enthralled at the lips of the story tellers, his mouth in an “O” of admiration while his hands were balled into little fists of excitement.
Dragons and Gold!
Heroes and Enemies!
Friendships with wizards!
Danger and Battle and Justice!
The little Hobbit wished that his cousins would never stop telling tales, but as usual when one is still small, bed time arrived way too fast and early for the young one’s taste.
When no tactic of delaying helped, Pippin had to admitt that his cousins had won this time.
The little Took crawled defeated into the bed that was prepared for him in a guest room very near to Frodo’s room.
But sleep would not come to him. He lay awake long after his cousins had left the room. All the great pictures the stories had awoken in his mind were flying through his thoughts.
In that night Pippin made a decision. He wanted to be a hero too! A hero, for whom no danger was too dangerous, no adventure was too big and no enemy was too evil. He wanted to fight for good in the world and for justice.
He, Pippin Took, would help to make the world better for all the Hobbits in Middle Earth!
Back in Buckland, 2 days before Yule
It was a cold day outside and after luncheon Frodo and Merry decided to have some quiet, relaxing time in Merry’s room that Frodo and Pippin were sharing with Merry during the Yule visit.
Merry’s plan was to make himself comfortable in front of the fireplace and read a good book. Frodo eagerly agreed to the plan. He wanted to look through a book wrtten in Sindarin to pick out a nice poem and translate it as a Yule present for Bilbo. While Merry was busy putting blankets and pillows on the floor in front of the fire place, Frodo sat down at Merry’s desk, took out some paper and looked for the quill to write with, but couldn´t see it anywhere.
“Merry” he asked. “Where is your quill? I’d like to translate a poem for Bilbo.”
“It’s right on the desk next to the ink, Fro.” The younger lad answered while he regarded his relaxing place with an approving nod. Now he only needed his book and it would be perfect.
Frodo looked all over the desk then scratched his head. “It is nowhere on the desk or I am blind. Maybe you put it somewhere else? “
Merry didn’t answer, but stood before his book shelf with a puzzled frown. “Now that’s strange I am sure I put “Tales of the Old Forrest” back onto the shelf when I finished reading in it last time.”
Frodo went over to Merry and looked at the book titles himself. “Odd. You’re right, Merry, it is not there.”
Merry looked thoughtfully at the shelf, recalling the time he last had the book in his hands. He had been lying on his bed reading a tale from it, when Pippin had arrived at the Hall and came running into the room. Merry had put the book down, had hugged his cousin and listend to his joyous chatter. Then Pippin had spotted the book, picked it up and asked him what he was reading. Merry told him and Pippin asked if he would read him a tale from it as a bedtime story, but Merry had refused and had explained to him, that the stories in there were very scary and not good for him to hear, especially not as a bed time story. Then he had taken the book out of his younger cousin’s hand and had put it back into the shelf.
“Pippin had been interessted in the book,” he said to Frodo. “Maybe he borrowed it and is trying to find someone else to read a tale from it for him. I will ask him. He knows not to take my things without asking and I told him the book was too scary still for him. But you know him….”
Frodo smiled. “I do. So now that we both can´t continue with our plans, how about we get comfortable at that nice place that you prepared and I tell you the newest story I heard from Bilbo? I bet it”s at least as scary as the Tales of the Old Forrest.”
“That sounds great cousin!” Merry smiled. “What are we waiting for?”
Merry plopped down on the blankets and Frodo sat down next to him and in a whispered voice he started to tell the tale of Blind Mrs. Browntoe and the whispring voices under her Smial. Merry felt the air tense up as he listened wide eyed to his cousin’s skillful story telling.
The Tooklands, 2 weeks after Pip's visit in Hobbiton
Pippin strolled hand in hand with his mother, Eglantine, through the market of Tuckborough, a little village not far away of the farm where they lived.
At a stand with cloth and wool Eglantine stopped and looked at the displayed wares with critical eyes. She needed to buy some new wool, for mending some of the scarfs and gloves that she had made last year for her famly as well as for knitting some new ones.
Eglantine let go of her son’s hand. “Now Pippin, I want to pick out some of this wool, and it may take a bit of time. You can look around by yourself, but I don’t want you to run too far off. Stay there were you can see me, alright?” She smiled down at him and Pippin flashed a smile back.
“Yes mama!” he said and was off at a run.
Soon, Pippin was standing in front of the stand that was displaying all sorts of different sweets. The little lad felt the water running in his mouth.
Just as he wanted to run back to his mother to ask her if she might buy him something, he noticed two lasses that were running around between the stands and wondered if they were the children of one of the stall owners.
Curiously he followed them.
“Hello!” He called out. “What are you doing?”
“We are playing catch with our dolls,” a little lass answered as she brushed a big, brown curl out of her face.
Even though Pippin was a lad, he was not unfamilar with dolls. His three sisters owned all kinds of dolls. However he liked stuffed toys better. He had a stuffed pony, two stuffed bears and a stuffed dog who were always sleeping with him in his bed.
At least one of these toys was always with him when he went somewhere, so of course today he also carried one of his loyal friends in his arms.
He showed it to the lasses. “This is Cookie,” he introduced the pony. “Cookie is very delighted to meet you ladies.” He said and let the toy bow in front of the girls.
The lasses giggled and made their dolls reply with a bow on their own.
Pippin looked now more closely at the dolls. They seemed quite old. Their faces were made out of grey cloth, the eyes were buttons. Their bodies were unformed and the arms and legs had no detail. Also, the little doll dresses they wore seemed somewhat shabby.
“My sisters’ dolls look different,” Pippin thought. “They have nice faces made out of porcelain, silky hair and noble dresses.”
“Does Cookie want to play catch with our dolls?” the second lass asked and Pippin nodded delighted.
Laughing and shouting, the children ran around the market place and soon they were out of breath. Just as Pippin stopped to catch his breath, he heard is mother call for him.
He looked sadly at the lasses. “I have to go now, that is my mother calling. It was fun playing with you and your dolls.”
The lasses and their dolls waved good bye to Pippin and Cookie then watched as their new friend ran into his mothers arms. She gave her little lad a big hug then lifted him onto the waiting pony trapp.
Later in the evening Pippin lay in bed staring thoughtfully at the ceiling, when his mother entered his room.
“Are you all ready for bed, darling?” she asked and Pippin nodded, but said nothing.
Eglantine noticed that her son had one of Pervinca’s dolls in his hands and seemed to study it carefully.
She looked puzzled for a moment. Pippin was normally not very interested in his sisters’ dolls, nor was he one to be silent for long periods when awake and not ill.
“Is everything all right?” She was worried and bent down to feel his foerhead for a fever.
“I don’t have a fever, Mama!” Pippin batted her hand away. “I am just thinking about something.”
Eglantine sighed relieved. “What, if I may ask, are you thinking about?”
Pippin pointed at the doll. “They looked so different than Vinca’s doll, Mama. Why is that?”
“Who looked different, darling?”
“The dolls of the lasses I met at the market today. They didn’t have nice faces and dresses as this one. Why Mama?”
“Well, you see Pippin, this doll you are holding there is quite an expensive one and not everyone has the money to buy one of those.”
“Oh…” Pippin answered. He thought about what she said. “But Mama isn’t that unfair? I am sure the lasses would like very much to play with a doll like Vinca’s.”
Eglantine kissed her son’s head. What a caring lad he was, she thought proudly. “Yes, yes darling, it is unfair, but many things in life are not fair. Don’t worry to much about it, alright? I am sure the girls at the market like the dolls they have very much. Don’t you think?”
Pippin remembered the lasses hugging and cuddling their dollies. He nodded and yawned. “Still….”
Eglantine put a finger on his lips. “Hush now. It’s time to sleep. You know tomorrow will be an exciting day. We will leave to go to Buckland early in the morning.”
Pippin beamed up at her. Finally he would see his Merry again.
“Sleep now, sweetling.” His mother whispered as she tugged the blankets comfortably around him. Pippin cuddled down into his soft bed and drifted into a peaceful slumber ere Eglantine had finished tucking him up nicely.
Eglantine smiled. “Good dreams.” She said before leaving the room.
Back in Buckland, still 2 days before Yule
Esmeralda Brandybuck looked contentedly around. The table was nicly prepared.
A beautiful plant with green and red leaves was standing in the middle of the table and around it coffee and tea as well as pastries, cakes and all sorts of Yuletide treats.
Esmeralda nodded. Yes, everything was ready so her friends and she could have a nice afternoon of exchanging the newest happenings and rumours of both Buckland and the Shire. Eglantine, who had come with her family to visit Brandy Hall a week and a half ago, was the first to arrive.
“That looks beautiful, Esme!” She smiled, praising her sister in law. “What an original colour that plant has. I have never seen red leaves on a plant fit for the winter before.”
“It is pretty, isnt it?” Esmeralda responded. “Our Master gardener Olev, has created this new kind. And do you know what he calls them? “Mrs. Brandybuck’s Yule Star”
Both women started to giggle.
“Really? Eglantine laughed. "Now, what a splendid name!”
“What are you giggling about?” a voice asked as Aster Brandybuck stepped into the room, followed by Hilda Brandybuck, her cousin by marriage.
“Welcome!” Esmeralda cried. We were just talking about Olev’s new creation. “Mrs Brandybucks Yule Star”. She winked. And now all four matrons giggled, for they all knew that the old gardener at a crush for Esmeralda. Even Saradoc knew that the old hobbit adored his wife, but he took it with good humor.
“Ladies, please sit down. Esmeralda said. “Let’s have our tea before it all gets cold.”
Soon the women were chatting heartily over this and that.
“Is that a new dress, Esme?” Hilda asked, while taking a sip of her tea. “It looks beautiful on you!”
“Thank you my dear.” Esmeralda answered, blushing. “I also have a silk scarf that goes with it. Saradoc gave it to me, just because he loves me he says.” She smiled and it was easy to see that she also still loved her husband as much as she had the first time she met him.
“What a darling of husband!” Eglantine said smiling. “Don´t you want to show us your new scarf?”
Esmeralda got up. “I’ll take my leave of you all for a moment, then, so I can fetch it out of my sleeping quarters.”
Five minutes later the future Misstress of Brandy Hall came back. Her friends looked expectatntly at her, but she had no scarf in her hand.
“I must apologize, but I could not find the scarf anywhere.” Their friend looked perplexed. “It is strange for I was sure that I put it over the chair in front of my dressing table, just after elevenses today.”
“That is strange indeed,” Aster agreed, “It is not the only thing that has seemed to have just vanished. Yesterday my daughters and I were looking for Melis’ favourite doll and Minthe’s new hair ribbons, but couldn’t find them anywhere.”
“And” Eglantine cut in, “Pearl told me this morning she is missing her golden hair pin. And Paladin could not find his pipe.”
Hilda spoke up. “Sederic just told me yesterday evening, that Dodi and Ilbi had a fight because of missing marbles. They also were not able to find them, they looked everywhere they could possibly think of.”
“I don’t want to accuse anybody, but with so many things vanishing in the last two days it does seem too much to be a coincidence. Do you think we might have a thief at Brandy Hall?” Eglantine spoke what was on the mind of all the hobbit matrons.
Rorimac, the master of Buckland, smiled at his sons Saradoc and Merimac, as well as at his visitors Paladin and Bilbo.
“I am delighted to see you again!” he said to Paladin and Bilbo.
“Ah, a little peace from our lasses and the children is something we don’t get often around here, is it? How would it be, if we drink a little glass on this occasion. I have the perfect drink for it.”
That, of course, was exactly in line with the desires of the gentlemen present. To a good drink they could not say no.
Rorimac got up and walked to a small shelf, in which he kept some of his old, more expensive bottles of spirits. He suddenly stopped. The bottle of the best Buckland Brandy was gone. He scratched his head. Had he drunk it? He certainly could not remember that he had. While he was still wondring, there was a knock at the door and Esmeralda stepped inside. Behind her the men could see Eglantine, Aster and Hilde who talked excitetly with each other.
“Excuse the interruption,” Esmeralda said. “But we have to talk to you. We think that we have a thief in Brandy Hall.”
“Come inside and take a seat.” Rorimac said and the door closed behind the adults.
Buckland, late evening
After dinner when the younger children had been tucked into bed and the older childen were silently engaged in talking, playing chess or other calmer board games with each other in the play room, a big group of adults met in one of the living rooms.
Frodo was also with them, and even though he was still a tween, he knew from Bilbo about the meeting.
Rorimac looked around at the faces of his friends and familymembers.
“Our trap is ready.” he announced. “Now we have only to be patient and wait. Saradoc and Merimac are on guard watching our bait and will inform us as soon as something happens.”
Merry opened the door to the living room and peered inside. He had wanted to asked his mother if he could have a late evening snack, for he still was hungry, but then he caught a bit of their conversation. They wanted to catch the thief! How exciting! That was something he really could not miss.
For a moment Merry had thought about quickly running to his room to wake Pippin, for the little Took had already been put to bed, but then he decided against it. Alone he had quite a good chance of being allowed to stay and wait, but if he had Pippin with him they would never allow it. Pippin was still too little.
When Esmeralda saw her son standing in the doorway she gave him a strict glance.
“Merry, what are you doing here? I thought you would be in the game room.”
Merry met his mother’s glance with his most winning smile and big, pleading eyes.
“Please can I stay, Ma? I want to see how if they catch the thief. Please ma!”
Esmeralda sighed. “Yes, you can wait with us. Go sit on the sofa and Merry… no fooling around. Is that understood?”
“Of course mother!” Merry grinned and did as he was told.
Saradoc and Merimac didn’t have long to wait. Already, half an hour after they started their watch, they saw how a shadow come up the dark corridor, stopping when it noticed the box, then bending over it and looking inside.
The two hobbits waited a moment longer, then, when the thief started to fill a little sack that he caried with the jewelery from the box, they jumped out of their hiding places to take him captive.
The door to the sitting room opened slowly. All the hobbits looked up expectantly.
Merimac entered, holding in one hand a small pillowcase decorated with sheep.
“We have our thief.” he said as he shook the jewelery out of the pillowcase onto the floor.
Behind Merimac, Saradoc came into the room. In his hand he led a child, pale from shock, who looked around with big, frightened eyes.
Eglantine gasped loudly while Paladin hid his face in his hands.
“That cannot be true.” the others heard him mumble.
Rorimac kneeled down in front of the child.
“Pippin, did you take all of the things that have vanished?” he asked.
The lad slowly lost he frightened look. He stood straight, crossed his hands over his chest, turned his head to the side and stared stubbornly at the wall.
“Pippin!” he now heard the firm voice of his mother. “Uncle Rorimac has asked you a question. Answer him please.”
Pippin’s stubbornness left him for a moment as he looked down at the floor studying his toes.
“Yes,” he murmured softly before raising his head and looking at his mother. “But I am allowed to!” he added more loudly.
Rorimac lifted his eyebrows.
“Lad, I do not think, that your parents taught you that stealing is right! You know that it is not allowed!”
Pippin stamped his little foot angrily on the floor and his eyes were swimming with tears.
“But I am Hobbit Hood!”
At the left side on the room Bilbo now hid his face in his hands and Frodo blushed to the tips of his ears. A “plop” was heard as Paladin’s forehead connected with the wooden table. He put the hands over his head and groaned. “Hobbit Hood!”
Rorimac stared in disbelief at the small Hobbit before him, while the other Hobbits in the room tried hard to keep a firm expression on their faces and Merry buried his face under some pillows to keep himself from laughing out loud.
Paladin rose from the chair on which he had been sitting, walked to his son and lifted him up. He sat Pippin down on the edge off the table and looked him in the eyes.
“How did you come to know the story about Hobbitt Hood?“ he asked, even though he could already imagine the answer.
Pippin pointed at Bilbo and the whole room turned towards the Baggins.
Bilbo rose and took a step forward, putting on an apologetic smile.
“Pal, I am very sorry. I did not think that . . . that something like this might happen, when I told the lad the story.”
“It is forgiven, Bilbo.” Paldin looked at Bilbo, who could see now a glint of amusement in his younger friend’s eyes.
The two hobbits turned back to Pippin.
“So you wanted to give all the things you took to poor Hobbits?” He asked.
Pippin nodded. “Yes, for Yule!” He beamed at his father, thinking he finally understood the importance of it all and would see that he, Pippin, was in the right to do as he did.
However Paladin shook his head and Pippins smile vanished.
“Still . . . stealing is wrong, Peregrin.”
“But Hobbit Hood . . .”
“No buts. Peregrin. Stealing is wrong, no matter what reason, and I want, you to apologize for what you did.”
Pippin's shoulders slumped and he let his head hang. Tears were now running over his cheeks. “I am sorry.” He murmured softly.
“Where are all the things now?”
‘Under my bed.”
“Tomorrow you will give them back to their rightful owners. Your mother and I will think about a punishment for you and will tell you what it is in the morning. However, now it is already very late and you belong in bed.”
“Yes father.” Pippin replied heavily.
Paladin looked questioningly at Rorimac, who nodded in return. He took his son in his arms and headed toward the door.
When he was nearly there he mumbled, more to himself than to Pippin, “Where did you actually learn how to steal?”
Pippin reacted at once and pointed at Merry, who still was sitting at the sofa.
“Merry showed me!” he said proudly.
Merry jerked together and blushed a deep red.
“Eh . . . ha,ha . . . ha,ha,ha . . . eh,” he laughed nervously and met the eyes of his father, who looked at him with an raised eyebrow.
“And where did you learn that, if I may ask, my son?”
Before Merry could answer Frodo suddenly jumped up, from where he had been sitting.
“Huaahh,” he yawned loudly. “It really is very late! Are you as tired as I am Merry? We really should go to bed. Come along!”
Merry nodded and gave his parents a sugar sweet smile. “Good Night!” he called and ran out the door.
Frodo stopped short before Paladin.
“I will bring Pippin to bed Uncle, if I may!” he said and took the child out of his uncle’s arms, not waiting for an answer’ and hurried after Merry.
The adults looked at each other. It was silent in the room. Than a grin started to spread across every single face and finally everyone burst into a roaring laugher.
“The younth of today!" laughed Rorimac, wiping his teary eyes. "The file on the "Thief of Brandy Hall" is closed then I think."
"Yes," Saradoc said after he caught his breath. "But I think we will need to have a talk with 'Hobbit Hood's mentors as well as with the little thief."
Paladin smiled as he looked over at Bilbo. "And I think I know just which one of us should do the talking."
Bilbo blushed all the way to the roots of his hair.
Merry along with Frodo who was still carrying Pippin, soon arrived at Merry's bedroom.
"You do manage to get yourself in some interesting messes, Pippin," Frodo sighed as he set the lad on his little furry feet. "Start getting ready for bed Pip." Frodo picked up Pippin’s nightshirt that was lying on the floor, where the little Took had thrown it, when he had put his day clothes on again after his mother had tucked him into bed.
"But Frodo, I was only wanting to help." The lad wiped his nose on his sleeve just before taking his shirt off.
"We know Pipsqueek, but this wasn't really the right way to do it."
Pippin was busy wiggling out of his trousers. "Why not?"
Frodo stood next to Pippin, holding out his nightshirt. Pippin stepped out of his trousers as he held his arms up over his head so Frodo could slip the nightshirt onto them, then he stood still as Frodo pulled the garment down.
"Because there is a difference between raiding a garden and taking someone's favorite toy."
"Or their jewelry or their favorite book," Merry added.
Frodo sighed. "Exactly. Get into bed Pippin.”
The lad hopped into his bed, his oldest cousin pulled up the covers then sat down beside him.
"Taking things like that is more than just a prank Pippin. Adult hobbits can end up in a lot of trouble if they do such a thing, and you heard your father say that he will be punishing you."
"I only wanted to help," Pippin sniffled. "I felt so sorry that they had dirty dollies."
"And that is a good thing, Pippin! You have a caring heart. But there are other ways to help."
Merry had walked away for a moment but now he was back at Pippin's bedside. He held out a beautiful carved toy pony. "Yes Pippin. See this?" He held out the toy pony. "I don't play with Trusty anymore and he's like new because I took good care of him. I could give him to you, as you still play with your wooden farmers and such. But what if we give him to some poor little hobbit lad who doesn't have such a nice toy pony?"
Pippin brightened at the idea. "Yes! That would be very nice Merry."
"And I have some quills and pencils that I've never used," Frodo said. "I'm more than happy to give them to someone who really needs them." He paused to ruffle his youngest cousin's hair. "There you have it Pip. You just need to ask and I'm sure everyone would give you something to give to the poor hobbits. Merry and I will help you, if you'd like us to."
"Oh yes! Can we start tomorrow?"
"Right after you give all those other things back and find out what your punishment is, Pip." Frodo smiled and kissed Pippin's forehead. "For now, it's time for you to go to sleep." He turned to look at his other young cousin. "You too, Merry. Good night to you both."
Frodo gave Merry a pat on the shoulder as he left their bedroom. He himself still wanted to do some reading in Brandy Hall’s library before joining his younger cousins in slumber.
Merry was just about asleep when he heard Pippin whisper. "Merry, who taught Frodo how to pinch things?"
Merry wasn't sure he wanted to find that out . . . but he had the feeling Pippin would.
- The End -