Title: Walking on the Streets of the Past
Theme: Father's Day
" 'May I lay the sword of Meriadoc of the Shire on your lap, Théoden King?' he cried. 'Receive my service if you will!'
'Gladly will I take it,' said the king; and laying his long old hands upon the brown hair of the hobbit, he blessed him. 'Rise now, Meriadoc, esquire of Rohan of the household of Meduseld!' he said. 'Take your sword and bear it unto good fortune!'
'As a father you shall be to me,' said Merry.
'For a little while,' said Théoden."
(RotK, Bk. V, Ch. II, "The Passing of the Grey Company")
Author's Notes: Beta by Pearl Took
Summary: Merry uses memories of the past to help his cousin Pippin through a difficult time, memories which help him as well.
Word Count: 1,080
Beta by Pearl Took
Merry was holding the sobbing form of his little cousin, Pippin, tight in his arms as he rubbed him soothingly over the back. In his own eyes tears were shimmering and one by one they found their way down his cheeks to drop into Pippin's curls.
It truly was a black day. The death day of Paladin Took, Pippin´s beloved father, and Merry´s equally beloved uncle. Merry could understand Pippin´s pain very well. Only two years before he had had to say good bye to his own father, and now Paladin had followed Saradoc.
A shiver suddenly ran through Merry. With Paladin's death the last person to whom he had felt a fatherly bond had gone away.
“You are like a father for me,” He had often whispered into his uncle's
ear, when he had been younger.
“You are the very best Papa in the whole world,” He had said to his own father often and had hugged him tightly.
“As a father you shall be to me,” He had once said to Theoden King, when he had knelt before him, offering him his sword and his service for the war; and like a father he had been.
Now they all were dead and in Merry's heart there were three holes that joined together leaving a large feeling of emptiness. Merry closed his eyes and dove into the darkness behind his eyelids. The pain that he felt seemed unbareable as it ate its way through his insides like a hungry maggot, growing fatter and fatter as it took more and more room for itself.
But suddenly, there was something else besides the maggot inside him.
A big, colourful butterfly unfolded its wings, and smiling, asked him to follow. Merry took a step and found himself on a long, dusty, road off of which many more streets and smaller paths parted. On his right side stood a wooden shield in the form of an arrow. “To the Inn of tomorrow”, was written on it.
"Where am I?" Merry asked astonished.
The butterfly danced happily through the air. “Come with me!” it sang and flew in the oposite direction of the pointing arrows.
Slowly Merry wandered down the street. Here and there he saw more wooden arrows on the side of the road, but all of them pointed in the opposite direction of the way he was going.
“Butterfly, are you sure that we are walking in the right direction?” the Hobbit asked. He was feeling rather concerned.
The butterfly just laughed. “Don´t worry, Merry. We are only going for a visit.”
“A visit? Whom do we want to . . .”
“Merry! Merry!” he suddenly heard someone calling his name. Curious, he turned to the side.
In the middle of a green meadow, that was next to the street, stood his father, happily waving his arm in the air.
Perplexed, Merry lifted a hand and waved back, when suddenly a small lad ran past him and jumped directly into Saradoc's waiting arms.
“That . . . that is me!” Merry stuttered. He starred at father and son, who were laughing and running hand in hand over the meadow.
Merry cautiously stepped off of the road onto the green, fresh grass and everything around him begann to change.
Like a blue, glimmering band the Brandywine river wounded itself between fields and meadows. Tall trees spread their shadows here and there along its bank. Hobbitwomen knelt on the gentle embankments, washing their laundry, while their children played and laughed nearby.
“Merry! Keep hold of the paddle!” he heard his father call, and he looked towards the surface of the water.
There he was, the small lad that he once had been, proud yet still with big worried looking eyes, sitting next to a young Saradoc, who was teaching him how to controll a boat.
Merry observed the beloved memory for a while.
Soon, he knew, they would take out their fishing rods and later on Merry would, with the help of his father, pull the biggest fish of the year from the Brandywine. Proudly they would bring the fish home and present it to Merry's mother, Esmeralda, as well as to Paladin, Eglantine and the Took-children, who were there for a visit at the time. Esmeralda and Eglantine would then prepare the fish for dinner and all of them would enjoy the tasty catch.
Merry laughed silently.
Paladin, while trying to feed three year old Pippin a piece of fish, had ended up with the half chewed piece of said fish flying high through the air and landing in Nell's hair. Everyone was surprised the little lad could spit something that far.
Merry remembered, chuckling now, how offended he had been that Pippin, of all people, had not liked his magnificent fish.
“Merry?“ a voice suddenly asked, interrupting the hobbit's thoughts. He opened his eyes.
Big green eyes, the whites of which were red from crying, looked questioningly at him. “What are you laughing about?”
“Bring him with you Merry,” The butterfly whispered. “Wake up his own butterfly. It is always allowed to let the heart fly backwards on the streets of time, as long as you do not forget to keep your life moving forward.
Remember the ones that you love who are now behind you on these streets. Remember them together.”
Merry smiled. "Pippin, do you remember that day we put a rainworm into Uncle Pal's sandwich?”
Half a smile began to play around Pippin's lips.
“He stooped chewing for just a moment, when he noticed the worm, but then he just ate on without showing a thing."
Merry grinned, and saw that Pippin's smile also grew bigger.
“And when he was done, he looked at us, smiled, thanked us for the tasty sandwich, then walked away. I say we probably looked quite dumfounded.”
Pippin now laughed quietly, and his empty, painful heart filled with warmth. It could not drive away the pain totally, but still it could ease it.
Deep into the night the cousins talked about past memories and times spent with Paladin, Saradoc, Frodo, Theoden, Boromir and all of the others who had left but had found a secure place in their hearts, until, comforted at last, they both fell alseep with a smile on their lips.