Chapter IV: A Guilty Reunion

Pippin raised his spoon and tipped it, watching the broth and small chunks of vegetables plop into his bowl. He repeated the process several times before Diamond's voice awakened him from his temporary paralysis.

"What's wrong, Pippin? You're not eating." She looked at him with concerned eyes. "Peregrin?"

"Oh, uh, sorry…I guess I'm a little tired." He rubbed his eyes.

"It's Meriadoc, isn't it?" When he looked up at her, she knew she had guessed right. "Stop being so stubborn, Pippin, and apologize to him. I know you miss him."

"All right," Pippin conceded. He threw on his jacket. "I'll see you later." He opened the door and found Merry standing there, his hand raised to knock. "Merry!"

"I know you probably don't want to talk to me, but I had to apologize," Merry explained a bit frantically.

"You don't need to apologize - it's me that should be sorry." Pippin let his friend inside and shut the door.

"I shouldn't have said those things, Pippin…I had no right to say them," Merry said. "Do you forgive me?"

"Of course I do! But it's me who's at fault," Pippin protested. "Can you forgive me for being so selfish?"

Merry nodded and patted Pippin on the shoulder. "I'm sorry I got angry with you, I suppose I was a bit jealous that…that you didn't need me anymore."

Pippin furrowed his brow. "What do you mean?"

He smiled. "Never mind. There I go again, spouting nonsense." Merry chuckled lightly. He looked past Pippin and saw Diamond peeking around a corner. "I think I should go now."

"Don't be ridiculous!" Diamond rushed out and grabbed Merry's hand. "You're staying for supper, you must."

Pippin looked at his cousin hopefully. "We promise not to poison you."

Diamond laughed and pushed Merry into a chair at the table. "I hope we'll become good friends, Meriadoc."

"Oh, well, then it's Merry."

"Hm?"

"My friends call me Merry."