Title: All Right

Author: Cerridwen

Rating: G

Summary: In the darkness of Moria, Pippin decides that Gandalf's really not that bad.

Disclaimer:  I don't own any of Tolkien's ingenious world, and I never will.

Author's Note:  Written on the spur of the moment because chapter 2 of Daffodils is still in the works and I wanted to post something.  Beta'ed only by me, so any spelling errors are my own and I apologise in advance.  This is for Dana who loves Pippin to an almost frightening degree. ;)

~*~

Pippin was absolutely miserable.  Beyond being scolded in front of the entire Fellowship, he'd been made to sit the first watch in this black hole of a room, with that baneful, gaping well at his back.  And for a stone!  A simple stone dropped to the bottom of a well; nothing had even come of it.  'Not a Hobbit walking party' perhaps, but there was no danger to come of his testing the depths of that blasted well.  He didn't even know why he'd done it, anyway.  He'd simply crept to the edge of the well and peered down into an inky blackness that told him none of its secrets.  Surely, any Hobbit would've done the same thing: what good was a well if one didn't know how deep it was, after all? 

Not that actually finding that out had done him much good.  It had angered Gandalf and got him here, shivering in the cold and dank seemingly leagues away from his warm sleeping roll, imagining every sort of spook or beastie that could at this very moment be crawling up from the dark depths of that well to take its revenge on Pippin for disturbing its sleep.  Vivid images of large, horned fish that walked on two feet and raised wide fins with clawed edges over him as they approached silently from the rear filled his brain and had him turning sharply at every rustle or movement in the small encampment.  More than once he was positively certain he'd seen glowing eyes peering at him from round the door, or out of the dark shadows that danced in the corners, only to pass it off minutes later as simply more dreams of a frightened Hobbit sitting alone in a silent room.

            One of his investigative turns landed his eyes on the large grey form of Gandalf, sleeping quite cosily in his on bedroll, mindless of the innumerable fears this room could hold for the only one currently conscious, and he frowned deeply.  Horrible, dratted Gandalf.  He blew everything out of proportion and Pippin decided with finality that he didn't like the wizard very much.  He vowed to never again offer his services for anymore of Gandalf's frumpy quests or wanderings, and in the morning, when the wizard would be properly abashed for his harsh actions, Pippin would decline Gandalf's offer of "a little more sausage, Pippin?" with an upturned nose and then agree to anything and everything that anyone else offered or asked of him just to put the wizard in his place.  In fact, before Gandalf received another smile or light word from Pippin he would have to kneel and thoroughly apologise for the spectacle he'd made tonight.  He hadn't a single doubt that Gandalf would soon be pleading for his forgiveness, and imagined, with much glee and a grin that escaped without his consent, the scene.

'Oh, Pippin, Pippin!' He would say, a look of heartfelt sorrow on his face for causing such pains to the one member of the Company that really knew what he was about. 'Forgive me, Peregrin, I beg you!  I cannot stand this cold silence from you any longer!'

And, with much honour and dignity, Pippin would graciously accept the apology on the terms that such an incident would never happen again and that he be treated with the utmost respect and never called names like Fool of a Took, or threatened to have his head banged against anything ever again.  The other members of the Company would be awed by his generosity, for certainly Gandalf's actions had been unforgivable, and the best of the morning sausages and the first cool drink of fresh water would be given in reverence to Pippin for his noble heart and forgiving attitude.  In fact-

A rustle from behind him caught Pippin's attention and he turned fearfully, fish monster running circles through his head again, but it was only Boromir shifting in his sleep so that he might snore from a different and better position.

Scowling, Pippin turned back and inspected a blister on his foot.  It was large and painful; the product of walking so many leagues over the harsh and rocky innards of Moria, and Pippin decided that this was Gandalf's fault too.  As was the gurgling growl of hunger that Pippin's belly made, loud enough that he was surprised the entire lot of them didn't wake and offer him a bit of their dried meat to stifle the rumbly protesting of his tummy.  Certainly if he had heard such an expletive from one of his companion's tummies he would go to whatever lengths to ensure that they were as full and comfortable as he could get them.  But then, that was just the kind of Hobbit he was: kind and generous, self-sacrificing and ever attentive to the needs of others.  Why, the Fellowship was quite lucky to have him along indeed!  He couldn't begin to fathom why they hadn't yet realised this, and the only explanation that he could come up with was that they had all taken up with Gandalf and decided him a Fool of a Took.  Even Merry was snoozing peacefully away right now.  With much certainty Pippin thought to himself that had it been Merry in this position he would have been up and sitting right next to his cousin, keeping him entertained and assuring him that he'd done nothing wrong.  Merry's turning against him was most likely Gandalf's fault as well, Pippin decided.

The wizard was crafty indeed if he could pull something as drastic as all that.  He and Merry had been nearly inseparable before Gandalf came along, after all.  Then just earlier that day Merry had scolded Pippin more than once in the name of Gandalf:  "Ssshh!  Gandalf's thinking!" he'd said, and "Don't complain, Pippin, Gandalf knows what he's doing." And even "We'll stop and eat when Gandalf finds us a suitable place, Pippin. Stop whinging."  With a dramatic sigh, Pippin chalked this betrayal up to Gandalf's cunning and decided that it was yet another thing to be apologised for in the morning.  He wouldn't make dear Merry apologise.  After all, it wasn't his fault that he'd had the figurative hat pulled over his eyes long enough for Gandalf's wiles to overtake his reason.

Another rustle, this one much more pronounced and active caught Pippin's ear and he turned sharply, ready to clout Troutman with whatever weapon he could find handy, but it was just Gandalf rising from his bedroll and coming over to where Pippin sat.  Pippin was slightly shocked.  Had the wizard been stewing in his own misery, sorrowful for subjecting Pippin to the torment of the first watch and gotten up to apologise already?

Gandalf kneeled beside Pippin, a kindly smile on his face and a grandfatherly hand placed on his shoulder.  "Get into a corner and have a sleep, my lad.  You want to sleep, I expect.  I cannot get a wink so I may as well do the watching."

Pippin eagerly got to his feet and hurried to his bedroll, sliding into the warmth with a relieved sigh.  Gandalf was all right, really, when it came down to it.  He had, after all, convinced Elrond to allow him to come on this quest in the first place, and always knew just what to do in a pinch.  And, truthfully, a foreign well was no more useful when one knew how deep it was than didn't.  Gandalf really was all right.

He vaguely heard the old wizard muttering to himself then blinked as he saw the red glow of a pipe appear, and a puff of smoke.  Pipe weed!  The fiend had pipe weed and hadn't even offered him any!  Why this was a grievous blow to…

And Pippin fell asleep without another thought.