Fic Title: Lost. (1/?)

Pairings: Merry/Pippin Fic Plot: Merry and Pippin have a fight. And then other stuff happens. Rating: PG-13 Warnings: Slash. Angst. That's probably about it. Oh, and AU-stuff. Disclaimer: Not mine. Tolkien's. From a challenge.



A wagon barreled along the dirt road, leaving a whirl of dust in its wake. The pony's hooves made a constant clattering sound against the trail that seemed to almost lull the two passengers. Neither of them spoke, they simply rode on, trying not to look at one another. A dark sense of brooding surrounded the pair of hobbits. None of the folk they passed on the road called out in greeting; any passerby could feel the coldness radiating from them.

When Merry and Pippin had a row, everyone knew it. They were such a close pair, when something came between them it was obvious to read, much to the cousins' dismay.

Pippin gazed down at the road passing under them. He tried to entrance himself with the rhythmic animation of the road's edge, wanting to forget the ache within him. His insides quivered and a shudder of pain ran through him with each breath he took. He tried his hardest not to cry, but it was hard. He and Merry had fought before, but never anything like this. The two were so close that whenever they had previously argued about anything, they were together again by the next mealtime.

This time was somehow different. Any previous time together on this wagon would have them laughing together merrily, or Pippin lying asleep, with his head in Merry's lap. Now, they could hardly bear to glance at each other.

Whilst still holding his tears back with all his strength, and the heartbreak he felt worsening with every intake of breath, Pippin was unable to do anything but relive the last argument with Merry, again and again, being ever more harsh on himself, bitterly telling himself that it was all his fault.

*

((Pippin's POV))

"Be quiet, Pippin." Came the amused voice of my cousin and love, Merry Brandybuck. "You'll be giving away our secret before you know it."

Despite the amused tone, I understood the trouble in Merry's voice. I learned to tell what he was thinking, long ago, before we became lovers, and it had come in handy several times. This was one of them. He wasn't alone in this. I did not want to be permanently shunned for having 'unnatural' feelings for a lad, and I didn't want the same fate to befall Merry. Certainly, it hardly bothered me (I don't know about him) when we were alone together, but if anyone found out... I could never bring that upon Merry.

"What secret?" Frodo asked suspiciously. He watched me carefully for a moment, then Merry. I felt terrible lying to Frodo. I always had. Frodo had always been one of my dearest friends, my closest friend, bar only Merry. The three of us had always shared our secrets, but this was one thing Frodo could never know.

Merry turned to look at me then, and I knew I had gone wrong somewhere. We had made Frodo suspicious; and a suspicious Frodo never quits until he finds out the truth. Somehow, I knew it was my fault.

"Nothing..." I lied, though I knew it was useless. Frodo would never be convinced by such a denial.

He watched us for a moment. I was never able to 'read' Frodo as well as Merry, but the hurt in his eyes, that his two best friends (bar only Sam) had kept a secret from him was obvious to anyone. "Frodo, I'm sorry..." I whispered. "But... we can't tell you."

"Why not?" He asked, the hurt in his eyes also evident in his voice. "Why is it that you can't tell me, your best friend in the world, apart from Merry?"

I paused, then. I had to tell Frodo. He deserved to know. And he wasn't going to tell anyone, was he? I looked between Frodo and Merry for a moment. Both were silently awaiting my next move. Merry, hoping I would either lie to Frodo, or not say a word. Frodo, hoping I would tell him.

I had never defied Merry before. On the other hand, I had never lied to Frodo before either. Finally, I just cracked from under both of their powerful gazes. "For months now, Frodo..." As soon as I said those words, I knew in my heart that I had hurt Merry more than I could ever hurt Frodo by not telling him. As I explained to him the truth, my voice grew weaker and weaker, and he did the last thing I ever expected him to do.

He recoiled from us in disgust. "My two best friends." He spat, lip curling in pure revulsion. " My best friends, off doing /this/ behind my back."

It was the last thing I ever expected Frodo to do. I expected Frodo to be understanding, or at least accepting of this fact. I hardly expected him to turn away from us in disgust. I dared sneak a look at Merry. He looked more hurt and insulted than I had ever seen him before, and more at my telling than at Frodo's less than favourable reaction to it. He turned and ran. I never felt more alone in the world. Merry upset with me, Frodo disgusted with me...

I ran after Merry, although I knew it was useless. I had to try and apologise to him, but I somehow knew that now, my apology was worthless. It hadn't really seemed so bad at the time, but my telling Frodo hurt him more deeply than I could really understand.

This was evident when I finally caught up with him, next to our wagon, and lay my hand on his shoulder. He pulled away from me, something he had never done before. I caught a glimpse of the look on his face. It was a mixture of hurt, betrayal, and anger. "I'm sorry, Merry..." I whispered.

"I can't trust you, Pippin..." He whispered back, turning to glare at me. "If I can't trust you to keep our secret, can I trust you at all?"

This ran deeper than I could ever comprehend. "I didn't mean to tell him..." I explained lamely, but it couldn't possibly be of any help. Merry's gaze only grew darker as I spoke.

"If you didn't mean to tell Frodo, who else won't you mean to tell?" He asked me, taking a step away from me. "I can't trust you any more. And without trust, we have nothing. Pippin - this is the end."

I felt tears pricking at my eyes, and I could tell Merry was holding back his own tears. But neither of us would let these tears fall, for fear of the other seeing us as being weak. "Merry -" I knew there was nothing left to sway him, but I had to try. But I had run out of arguments. There was nothing left I could say.

Finally, I just stepped forward, pulled him forward by the waistcoat, and kissed him. He did nothing for a moment, which was explanation enough in itself that he no longer wanted me, but then he shoved me away, hard. I landed on my back on the ground, as I had many times before, but this was not in playful jest. "Can't you understand, Pippin?" He asked me roughly. "We're through. That means no more Merry and Pippin, why don't you understand?" I nodded slightly, not allowing myself to speak

He sighed, lifting me up off the ground. "I'll take you home." He finished coldly.

*

"We're here." Merry spoke coldly, his icy gaze drilling holes through the younger Hobbit. Pippin clambered out of the wagon, and watched as Merry drove it away without even a goodbye.

It was then he allowed his tears to fall. He had lost the playful jest of his cousin, the understanding trust of his best friend and the love and care of his lover. And he didn't even have Frodo's shoulder to cry on anymore.