Of Entwives And Hobbits
Chaper 2 - Pippin Believes
"I still don't believe you," Pippin said flatly.
"Come on Pippin! You saw it with your own eyes! If that wasn't an Ent, what do you call a moving tree in the gardens of Bag End?"
Pippin tipped his head towards the table. "Lack of sleep and breakfast."
Merry was frustrated with his cousin and decided to drop the matter. If Pippin didn't want to help him pursure the matter, he'd do so himself. There was only one real place to look for an Ent in all of the Shire and Merry knew exactly where it was. The Old Forest. Meriadoc stood up suddenly and strode over to the front door. "I shan't be long - I'm just poking around a bit."
"Well don't poke too much!" called Pippin sleepily. "You have a reputation you know..."
With a great snore, his head fell forwards and he drifted off into dreams about Fangorn Forest.
Brandybuck soon regretted his decision once he'd reached the gate. Unless he took a cart, it would take a long time to reach the Old Forest. He leapt to his only choice and asked a nearby Hobbit (a relation several times removed) if he might borrow a cart for a week. Generously, the Hobbit let him ride off hastily before nipping off down to the pub.
Merry didn't know why he was compelled to go to the forest right then and there, but he drove the two horses on mercilessly, hoping to make his journey much shorter than it was. If he took the new road out past Farmer Maggot's house...
The new road had no name yet, as no one had thought of anything fitting for it. There were suggestions for either Took or Brandybuck (seeings as most Hobbits idolised them) but each time they were turned down. Merry didn't really care, as long as the road was a fast shortcut across the Shire.
Suddenly, he drew the horses to a stop, looking around. The road had brought him to the edge of the forest, but he dared not venture any further. He remembered his last encounter in there and decided he'd watch it from the road, as not to anger the trees any more than they were.
The hours ticked by slowly and the waiting night rose suddenly with the slight moon. Merry soon found his eyelids drooping, no matter how hard he fought to keep them open. He took to singing but his voice faded to a whisper after less than five minutes. Finally, he gave in and fell fast asleep.
Meriadoc woke up very quickly when at last he was able to. He found himself in bright sunshine peeking through the trees. It was quite past dawn and no mist had risen at all that night. Slightly unnerved, Merry jumped back onto the cart and sped off for Bag End. All the while, he kept shooting nervous glances over his shoulder at the ever decreasing forest.
When he could no longer see it, he turned his attention back to the road. By nightfall he had reached Bag End, looking warm and inviting with a merrily crackling fire. Merry let the horses into the shed around the back and walked briskly inside. He found his cousin was quite busy romancing his lastest admirer - Diamond of Long Cleeve. Annoyed, Merry went staright to the kitchen table and buried himself in a great deal of leftovers.
When Diamond had finally gone, Pippin joined his cousin. "No Ents, eh? I told you not to go poking around."
"Pippin!" Merry cried, exasperated. "I fell asleep, that's all."
Peregrin chortled. "You fell asleep? If they were Ents about (and I'm not saying there are) they would have made sure you went to sleep. Here, have a smoke."
Merry accepted the pipe and took a long puff from it. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Pippin looking at him uncertainly. He probably thinks I've cracked, Merry reflected.
"I'm going to bed," Merry announced shortly.
"I think you should," agreed his cousin who was smoking absently, gazing out the window. "You sound rather stressed."
Peregrin Took made his way to his guest room long after Merry had nodded off. Pippin had just settled into bed when he heard a creaking noise from outside. Shrugging this off, he turned on his side - away from the window. Even if he didn't believe Merry's story, he admitted to himself he was thorougly scared. What if it was a Huorn gone bad? The Shire would be in a spot of trouble if it was.
He closed his eyes and will himself to sleep. He tried counting sheep, but as it always does, the method didn't work.
Tap, tap, tap.
Pippin felt his heart clench in his chest. He told himself it was just the wind. He snuck a look out the window and saw nothing but a stray branch against his window. He relaxed.
Tap, tap, tap.
Annoyed, Pippin hid his head under the fluffy pillow, trying to block out the sound. There was silence and he breathed a sigh of relief. Suddenly, through the thickness of the pillow, he heard his window open. Jumping up in fright, he scurried over and looked out. He could make out a tree striding away underneath the moonlight before vanishing.
Pippin sank to his knees, suddenly believing his cousin's claim.
Merry woke to someone drawing back the curtain, letting streaming sun into his eyes.
"Ah! Pippin!" he complained. "Too bright!"
He looked over at his cousin who seemed pale and drawn. Pippin burst out, "I believe you about the Ent!"
Merry was surprised, needless to say. "Why the change?"
"It became as obvious as a tree tapping on my window," muttered Peregrin in a strange manner.
A grin swept over Merry's face as he watched Pippin depart the room, lost in a deep train of thought. It seemed that Pippin had seen the Ent, and had accepted it.
Merry got dressed and peered out the window. Not a soul moved that he could see, but the wind kicked up dirt and the dancing limbs of trees. He squinted out at several trees, but saw that they were never going to move, even if someone approached them with an axe or flaming torch. Sighing, he leant against the window sill and pressed his forehead against the glass. What business did Ents have in the Shire?