Title: Small Heroes, Mighty Deeds
Theme: Fix the Movies
Elements: field pennycress
Author's Notes: I adopted one of Shirebound's Shirebunnies in order to write this for the theme "Fix the Movies". This is the bunny I chose:
M1 What happened after Pippin risked his life to light the beacons? Did he feel any physical or emotional shock once he had succeeded and made it back down to the ground? Was the climb down as harrowing as the climb up? Did he feel proud? Frightened? Did Gandalf acknowledge the deed in any way? What was Aragorn's reaction when he learned that the beacon he saw at Edoras had been initiated by... Pippin?
Beta: Many thanks go out to Elanor, whose comments and suggestions made my story so much better than it would be. Thank you, Elanor! Credit must be given to her for the idea of Gandalf sitting and drinking tea while thinking fondly of the sleeping Pippin.
Summary: See A/N's
Word Count: 1999
Oh stars, now I have to get down again! Well, you made it up here, Peregrin Took, surely you can make it down again...I wonder why it's so much harder going down than up...? Hoy! That was close! Save us, I don't think that I can do this...!
Pippin let out a shaky breath as he paintstakingly put one foot in back of another, easing his way down the mountainside. He should never have let Gandalf talk him into this! If he didn’t fall to his death, he would be caught and certainly punished. He wondered suddenly what Denethor might do with him; throw him in the dungeons? Did Minas Tirith have dungeons? Of course it did; every capital city of a kingdom had dungeons. Oh please, Gandalf. don't let them throw me in the dank, damp dark! Just let me make it down to the safety of the ground, and I promise I'll escape to my room where I'll hide for the rest of the day. Save us, what was I thinking? Oh Gandalf, where are you now? You're the one who got me into this; now you've got to get me out!
Usually, Pippin had no fear of heights. He had always been the one willing to climb the largest tree back home; it was Merry who had always been afraid of heights. However, this was a mountain... and surely it was the highest he had ever climbed. It was only natural that he should be a bit shaken as he descended from lighting the beacons. The climb up hadn't been nearly as difficult, because he hadn't had to look down, but now he could hardly avoid it, as he gingerly placed his feet in the hidden nooks and crannies of the mountainside. He stopped for a moment, and glanced upwards. All right, he had to be at least half way there by now. Easy does it, lad, he whispered to himself. Only five hundred more feet to go!
This was slow going. Pippin let his mind wander a bit. Why was it that it was faster going up than going down? One would think the opposite was true... He looked around and saw that the beacon at Amon Din had been lit already in response to the blaze he has started. They don't fool around here when it comes to sending messages, do they? He was impressed with the Men of this city...Beregond was a fine example of such a Man, he thought, and his son bore a striking resemblance to him in this regard. Bergil would grow up to make a fine guard of the citadel, if that is what he chose to do...
His foot dislodged a hail of pebbles, and the noise of their scattering jolted him back to the present. Fool of a Took! Pay attention! he chastised himself. You're going to kill yourself if you aren't more careful. And so he was, until something else served to distract him; the odor of roast chicken was wafting up from below! It must be about dinnertime, so folks would be starting to prepare the evening meal. Pippin's mouth watered; roast chicken, with basil and garlic, just like his mother used to make...! Oh save us, will you pay attention!
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Pippin laid his feet on solid, horizontal ground. He immediately vacated the premises so that he wouldn't be caught; he could hardly believe someone hadn't seen him climbing down the mountainside. But It seemed that everybody's attention was on the beacons, blazing away on the mountains. Good; so far so good. He should be able to make it back to the room without incident... at least, so he hoped. But his legs were wobbly, and he was having a hard time walking in a straight line. He stopped, closed his eyes, and took a deep breath. All right, he told himself calmly; you're down safely from the mountainside, and nobody saw you, apparently. Just make it back to your room, and then you can collapse in a heap and take a long, long nap! He hoped Gandalf did not have other plans for him; who knew what the wizard might be wanting now? Pippin surely didn't know what was on his mind; though he thought he might give Gandalf a piece of his own mind when next he saw him!
By the time Pippin slipped back to his room, he was completely exhausted and drained. He poured some water from the pitcher that was sitting next to his bed into a basin, and rubbed some on his face. Sighing, he reached for the towel that was folded neatly by the basin, wiped his face, unclasped his cloak and carefully draped it over one of the bedposts, and then collapsed into bed. Flinging his arm over his eyes, Pippin almost immediately fell asleep.. and slept through the entire night, even after Gandalf arrived, three hours later.
Gandalf was not only tired, but very irritated as he made his way to the 'house' that he and Pippin shared. Denethor was being completely unreasonable; he refused to see the benefit of lighting the beacons. Gandalf had not been able to convince the old fool that the Men of Rohan would respond in a heartbeat to Gondor's plight; Denethor held out no hope of that happening either. Further, he refused to help organize an evacuation of the residents of the Pelennor into the city proper. He was mad with grief and hopelessness, Gandalf decided sorrowfully. He himself would have to take charge of things, starting tomorrow morning. But right now he was just bone tired.
He muffled his entrance to the house as soon as he saw the prone form of the young hobbit lying on the bed, and thereafter quietly busied himself with making a cup of tea to help calm his swirling thoughts. As soon as the tea was ready, he sat down in one of the chairs facing the interior, and watched Pippin as he lay sleeping. What a brave young lad he had been, scaling the mountainside as he had done, when surely he must have been afraid! And not only had he shown the presence of mind to light the beacon, but he had also escaped unseen down the same way he had come up. How frightened he must have been! But he had done it, because Gandalf had asked him to. He had trusted Gandalf, believing absolutely that the wizard wouldn't have asked him to do anything he wasn't capable of doing.
Gandalf frowned to himself. Was that true, he wondered? Did he actually ask too much of these Halfings who had so readily accompanied him on the Quest to destroy the Ring?
What about Frodo? Certainly he was asked to do the impossible; the chances of his survival (and Sam's) were slim to nothing. And Merry.. left all alone in the world of Men, with not one hobbit to talk to. What had I done? he thought. He had served to separate the four of them, when their strength was laid in each other... their friendship and their unbreakable bonds of loyalty. The least he could have done was to bring Merry along with Pippin to Minas Tirith; at least Frodo and Sam had each other.
Gandalf shook his head and took a sip of tea. That kind of thinking would do none of them any good. He had done what he could, what he thought best; only the Valar could help direct things to the liking of Eru. He only hoped that he had done enough.
His thoughts strayed back to Pippin. What would be the fate of this courageous little one, he wondered? He would certainly sing the lad's praises to the rest of the Fellowship, when and if they ever found themselves reunited. Certain, he could be a Fool of a Took at times... but then again, Gandalf thought he might be the best of Tooks. He wished that old Gerontius were alive, and able to see what a fine specimen of a hobbit his great great grand son had turned out to be. One of the heroes of the Ages, Gandalf thought, smiling to himself. Young Peregrin Took. Whoever would have thought it? Certainly Elrond hadn't foreseen any great deeds for Pippin or Merry, or he wouldn't have argued so vociferously against the two youngest hobbits coming along. Well, he would argue that this certainly qualified as a 'great deed'; Denethor would have never permitted the lighting of the beacons, and if they had not been lit, Rohan would never come... and all would be lost. All might still be lost, but there at least remained some hope.
The Rohirrim had arrived, just in time, and Aragorn had arrived with his 'army' as well. Many heroic deeds were done that day, the 15th of March; even a little Hobbit named Merry Brandybuck had helped to bring down the Witch King. Three days later, everyone was catching their breath; the dead were being buried, the injured being tended to. And the story of another brave deed was being told by Gandalf to a recovering Merry and an astonished trio of Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas.
They were gathered in the Gardens of the Houses of Healing, keeping a recovering Merry company as they drank in the splendour of a gorgeous day. Some flowers that reminded Pippin of the field pennycress in his grandmother's garden were just starting to bloom; their periwinkle flowers twinkling in the sunlight. Pippin was blushing profusely.
"But Gandalf, compared to what the warriors did... including Merry.... my deed was really not very brave at all, " he demurred.
"Quite the contrary!" Aragorn said, looking at Pippin in awe. "Do you mean to tell me that you climbed Mt. Mindoullin, unseen, set the beacon alight, and then climbed all the way back down, again unseen?"
Pippin nodded, quite embarrassed to be having his future king lavishing him with such praise over an act that was so plainly prosaic in comparison to Merry's.
"Pippin, that was quite remarkable," Merry piped up. "I would never have been able to have done such a thing; you know my fear of heights! That was a very brave thing to do." Merry smiled, obviously quite proud of his young cousin's deed.
"Indeed," Gimli said, "if those beacons hadn't been lit, Theoden would never have come, and laddie there," he pointed to Aragorn," would never have walked the Paths of the Dead, gathering an army around himself. Why, the battle would have surely been lost!"
Legolas smiled as he noticed how uncomfortable Pippin was growing. MIght as well make him a little more so. "Get used to it, Pippin; your deed, along with your cousin's, is going to be immortalized in song. People will sing of you a thousand years from now. and wonder who these steadfast, brave creatures were."
"Oh glory," Pippin moaned. "Surely not!"
"Well, whether or no," ARagorn said, "the six of us will surely remember the parts that were played; and soon," he grew more solemn," Frodo and Sam will be here with us, and we will gladly sing their praises above all others."
"Here, here," Pippin and Merry chorussed loudly.
Gandalf chuckled. "Leave it to hobbits, "he said, " to heap praise on others rather than on themselves!" He smiled fondly. "You are a very humble race."
Pippin and Merry both blushed. "Can we, erm, talk about something else?" Merry asked.
Aragorn laughed. "Of course we can! Let's see, what news is there to give? Ah yes... Lady Eowyn is recovering nicely, as is Faramir....."
And so the talk went on about other things, during this in-between time, a respite between dangers, a place of light in the dark. For all anyone knew, Sauron could be regathering his forces for a killing blow... but right here, right now, things were peaceful... and brave deeds were acknowledged and praised.