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Title: In the Shire Reckoning: 1420
Author: [livejournal.com profile] thuri
Author's Email: Thuri (at) ThuriWeaver (dot) com
Pairing(s): Merry/Pippin, previous Frodo/Sam implied
Rating: PG
Summary: Sam gets married
Disclaimer: I don't own these characters. I didn't come up with them. Don't sue me, I have no money.
Warning: none
Authors Note: I forgot I wrote this! It was a present for [livejournal.com profile] sunhawkaerie I remember that, but I don't remember why. So! Here ya' go, Sun, only a few years late.

1420: The Great Year of Plenty
May 1: Samwise marries Rose.

The two hobbits wound their way down the path, the taller of the two often supporting the other, gently guiding him down to number three, Bagshot Row. Anyone listening would have heard the slurred speech and proud happy tones drifting up, answered by a softer, more even voice.

"It was a beautiful wedding," Merry agreed, smiling as Sam's father told him so yet again. "And I'm sure Sam will be very happy. Good night."

After a while longer, spent convincing the Gaffer to go into his own hobbit hole, Merry started back up the lane to Bag End. Moonlight shown down on the path, and he walked slowly, contemplating the events of the day. Sam and Rosie. Married. He shook his head, kicking a foot in the dust of the road. Many had been surprised to see Samwise Gamgee wed a lass, but Merry thought he knew why. He didn't fully understand it, of course, but he knew.

Gradually, his footsteps brought him to Frodo's door. Frodo sat on the bench by the window, looking out over the party field. "The gaffer home, then?" he asked, taking his pipe from his mouth.

"Aye," Merry replied, joining him on the bench. "Took a bit, to stop him talking about his Sam, but luckily he ran out of words." They were silent for a while, each lost in thought. "Penny for your thoughts, Cousin?"

Frodo smiled, a bit sadly. "I think you can guess them, Mer." He sighed. "I didn't expect to mind," he said softly. "I was prepared for it. Told him to do it. But . . . I'd be lying if I said it didn't hurt today. Watching them together. Hearing them speak those vows to each other."

Merry put an arm around his cousin, drawing him close. "I know, Frodo. And I don't know how you did it."

"I had to, Merry. I can't let Sam waste his life, waiting for me. I'm . . ." Frodo sighed, and pulled gently away. "I can't be his love, not now. He doesn't understand it, but it's true. And Rosie does love him, and I know he loves her, too. They'll be happy."

"I wish you could be," Merry said, softly, but fiercely. "I wish there was something I could do, that any of us could do. Frodo . . ." But Frodo smiled, the same slight, sad smile that was all he'd had ever since he'd woken in Ithilien, and Merry's words died on his lips.

"I know, Merry. And that means more to me than I can say. But there is nothing you can do. Nothing anyone can do. Beyond being here, now, as you already are." Frodo puffed on his pipe, face nearly blank. "They'll be happy," he repeated. "And so will you and Pippin. And that's what matters."

They sat in silence awhile longer, Merry searching for words to heal, to comfort, and finding none.

"Go in to Pippin, Merry," Frodo said at last. "He'll be wondering where you've got to. I'll be all right."

"You won't," Merry countered. "But you won't let anyone help you either." He sighed. "I am here for you, dear cousin, if ever you change your mind. As are Pippin and Sam. We don't understand, not everything, but we are here for you."

"I'm glad of it. Maybe someday . . ." Frodo shrugged sadly. "I'm sorry, Merry. I truly am."

"Don't be," Merry drew him into a hug, and for once Frodo didn't resist. "I may not understand, but I still love you. Goodnight."

"Goodnight." Frodo returned his attention to his pipe, to the party field.

Merry bit his lip, and went into Bag End. Every day, it seemed, Frodo moved farther away from them. He sighed, making his way down the hall to the room he always shared with Pippin when they stayed with Frodo.

He opened the door, to find Pippin sitting on the sofa, holding Rosie's bouquet and smiling down at it. A smile broke across Merry's face. "Well, Imp, next to be married. Who do you think will ask you? Diamond certainly seemed interested. Although you did practically snatch it away from her."

A broad grin split Pippin's face, and he giggled. "Diamond would never want me, and well you know it. Besides, I have someone else in mind," he answered, getting up and pulling Merry into his arms. "If he ever gets ‘round to asking."

Merry kissed Pippin, lightly, teasingly. "He's a lucky lad, then, whoever he is. Want me to have a word with him?"

"Merrryyy!" Pippin laughed. "Yes. Tell him he's being silly and to stop it right now."

"I'll try. But I'm not sure he'll listen to me." Merry grinned, and kissed Pippin again. "Oh, I do love you, Impling. And you know I'd ask you to marry me if I could."

"I know," Pippin said softly. "And I'd say yes." Merry gathered him close, and they stood, arms around each other, for sometime. "I wish we could," Pippin went on. "Wish I could stand up there with you, in front of all our friends, our family. Wish I could pledge you my life and love forever. So everyone would know. Know how much you mean to me, how much I love you."

"So do I, Impling. So very, very much." Merry walked them over to the sofa, pulling Pippin down into his lap. "You are my heart, and I want to tell the world."

Pippin picked up the bouquet again, turning it over and over in his hands. "Why did Sam do it?" he asked finally. "How could he?"

Merry sighed. "I imagine he did it because he does love her, after a fashion. And she loves him. And . . . because Frodo told him to."

"I don't understand that, either," Pippin said. "How could Frodo do that to him? They've been in love, been together, for . . . forever, Mer. And I know Sam still loves him, and I know Frodo still loves Sam."

"Frodo won't let himself be loved by anyone, though," Merry said, remembering the stiffness of Frodo's shoulders, when he'd put his arm around him. "Least of all by Sam."

Pippin nodded, laying his head on Merry's shoulder. "I thought as much. He won't usually even let me hug him. And I know he's worse with Sam. But . . . muck. I wish we could do something."

"We can't. He won't let us." Merry sighed again, holding Pippin tightly. "All we can do is let him know we're here for him, and hope someday he'll stop running and talk again. But . . ."

Pippin reached up and smoothed away the silent tears Merry hadn't realized he was shedding. "I know," he said softly, gathering Merry close. They held each other for a long time, silently united.

Finally, Pippin stirred, and pulled away. "I love you, Merry," he said softly. "Always. And I'm here for you."

"I love you, too, Impling," Merry replied, a bit confused, but willing always to respond. "I know you're here for me. As I am for you."

"And that's why we'll stay together, right?" Pippin asked. "We won't be like Frodo and Sam, will we?" His voice cracked, just a bit.

"Oh, Pippin," Merry said softly, pulling Pippin against him again. "Oh, my Impling. No, we won't. I will never, never leave you."

"I'll never let you," Pippin said fiercely. "Even if we can't pledge ourselves in front of everyone."

"I said I'd marry you if I could, Pip," Merry said, with a gentle smile. "I meant it."

"Me, too," Pippin responded. "And maybe we can't. But . . ." He took a deep breath, and pulled away from Merry, shifting until he sat beside him on the couch. He smiled shyly, his voice suddenly soft, and took one of Merry's hands in his. "I, Peregrin Took, by the life that courses within my blood and the love that resides within my heart, take you, Meriadoc Brandybuck, to my hand, my heart, and my spirit, to be my chosen one. To desire you and be desired by you, to possess you and be possessed by you, without sin or shame, for naught can exist in the purity of my love for you. I promise to love you wholly and completely without restraint, in sickness and in health, in plenty and in poverty, in this life and beyond, where we shall meet, remember, and love again."

Tears streamed down Merry's face, hearing Pippin so freely give the vows that Sam and Rosie had shared just that day. His voice broke, as he repeated the words, giving them back to his love. He finished and kissed Pippin, gently, but firmly. "I love you so, my own."

"And I love you, Merry-mine. Forever and ever."
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October 2009


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