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Disclaimer: Anybody who doesn't know these guys belong to Tolkien's estate lives on another planet.
Thanks to Te for the title and for audiencing.
For Dawn Marie, who asked for some.
By Jane St Clair
Merry likes fruit for breakfast. He likes to peel it himself, with the little knife he was given when he was still a very small boy-hobbit. Eating breakfast involves a lot of careful licking of fingertips, and tiny spears of apple like bright, white meat. He eats peaches with dedicated concentration, only choosing the ripest ones, that he can open with a single slit. Soft, wet skin shreds in his palms.
Merry likes their burrow in Brandy Hall. They chose it when they were barely old enough to toddle about. It was lined with blankets, first. Later they added chairs. Now it has two beds, which are usually pushed together, and extra pillows. There is a cupboard, a small fire, and a teapot.
Merry likes his tea with three spoons of sugar, or one large spoon of honey. He likes cups, and collects them in the cupboard. He likes to drink his tea in bed, with a blanket over his legs and a great many pillows behind his shoulders. He likes a single lamp to be burning, or just the fire, if it's a bright one.
Merry likes walking about half-dressed in the morning, with his trousers thrown over the foot of the pushed-together beds, his yellow waistcoat atop them, and only his shirt on. He builds the fire like that, and makes his tea, and brings it back to bed.
Merry likes to lie on his side, with one arm pillowing his head and
one hand steadying his teacup. He peers over the rim of his cup and smiles.
2. Buckleberry Ferry
Pippin always crosses the river with his toes in the water. Once, the Tookish tendency to do mad things for no reason caused him to dive into the Brandywine fully clothed. He proved to be able to swim, but not strong enough to fight the current. When he was fished out, a quarter of a mile away, he was still laughing helplessly.
Merry had to give up his coat, and walk for the rest of the day in his shirt and waistcoat. They left Pippin's shirt flapping on a branch to dry, and it was days before they could find it again. Little spiders had wrapped it into their webs by then.
Pippin never looked less like a responsible, grown-up hobbit than he
did that afternoon, romping without his shirt, his coat pockets full of
Pippin convinces himself sometimes that he likes to sleep out of doors. It's a belief that seldom lasts a whole night, but it often endures past sunset, and it results in his lying in warm hollows with Merry, both of them wrapped in cloaks and blankets, making tea and boiling puddings over small fires. Pippin's pockets are a surprising well of raisins and currants, and sometimes Merry remembers to borrow spice jars from the Hall kitchens. Cloves and cinnamon, ginger when they can get it.
Pippin gets cold quickly. It was his idea that they should have their beds together at home. And so he comes over soon after they settle down, touching, carefully, looking for extra warmth. He sleeps quietly, once he's found it, and curls tightly against Merry's chest. He stretches wide only in the warmth of their burrow. In the cold, he touches fitfully, brushing his fingers into Merry's clothes, more for warmth than for any other reason.
Merry gathers them up before morning, usually, when he's tired and cold
and understands that he isn't likely to sleep until he's home. It's a quiet
walk in the dark, with Pippin holding the tails of his coat for support,
and later leaning against Merry's side. They located their own door into
the Hall years ago. It's not as well-polished, but the carpet near the
door is thick and warm on their feet whenever they come in. Merry can build
a fire and let them sleep until noon of the next day.
4. The Stockbrook
Merry likes cabbages. Pippin likes carrots. They were told too many tales of small, earnest, thieving rabbits when they were small hobbit-boys. It seems only natural to them.
Pippin can run very quickly, when he needs to. No Big Person will ever find him, most likely. Farmers try and fail. Merry can never quite catch him, though Pippin's seldom out of his sight. And if he falls and rolls down to the creekbottom, he's likely to catch Pippin halfway down the slope. Grass below them, vegetables and garden earth falling around them. At the bottom, they can hide in a watering can, or some such thing.
Or they can roll farther, catching one another and enjoying the long, soft grass which has yet to be harvested for hay. The ponies on the far side of the brook are far too happy with the pasture they've found to be interested in a pair of young, foolish hobbits. The grass is lovely and bright, the sort of thing one ought to compose a song about, or to recall a song about. There are hobbit songs for all bright, clean things.
Merry lands on top at the end of their roll, so Pippin kisses him and rolls him down. He stands up, covered in bright grass stains, with long blades of it tangled in his hair, laughing, nearly rolling with it. So very easy for Merry to bear to the ground, to tickle and kiss and wrestle with, through the soft growth and the soft ground.
Pippin laughs whenever Merry kisses his throat. Merry's back is very
sensitive, fair game for any number of teases and touches.
5. Brandy Hall
Pippin likes to eat his scones with softened honey and butter on them, and to lick the tips of his fingers after. His particular rule is not to eat in bed, lest the crumbs interfere with his later rest and play. He starts every night in his own bed, but crawls across the join of their mattresses to wrap himself around Merry before midnight strikes. Long bells ringing through the Hall's tunnels.
Pippin tells quiet stories while they're wrapped in their beds. Most involve food, many involve theft. A very few extend as far away as Hobbiton. A startling number involve water. His delight in nearly drowning is utterly unnatural, and would likely scandalize a large number of his many aunts.
Merry likes to keep them both in bed until very late morning, even if they both wake early. He's created his very own version of 'tag', in which the play space is limited to the bed and becoming tangled in the covers is most of the fun. Sometimes Pippin finds an umbrella or some old hobbit's cane, and they can make a tent out of the bedsheets and live under it for a while.
Merry likes the world they create for themselves within their bedsheet
tents. Pippin sheds his clothes as easily there as when he swims, and he
plays with the same joy that he plays with anywhere. The curls of his hair
get into his eyes when he wiggles. He smells like warm sugar and young
hobbit. He kisses and wrestles and nuzzles and tells stories, wrapped around
Merry's own naked back, for whole days at a time.