Author's Note: This is the final chapter of Jewels, but not the end of Merry and Pippin stories. See "FireStorm", "Down and Out", and "At the End of His Rope" for the story of Pippin's tenure as Thain. I have quite a few other "Merry and Pippin" stories here on ff.net, as well.
As of the date of this posting, "FireStorm" is still in draft form, but I hope to get it posted online soon. The others are all available this very minute.
'I think it's broken. Try to lie still.'
'Who's idea was it, anyway, to ride up into the hills for a picnic?'
'Yours, I believe.'
'These Gondor ponies leave a lot to be desired. Socks would never have run off that way.'
'No, nor Jewel, either. But look at the bright side.'
'What bright side?'
'At least they are probably running back to the stables. Once they get there, someone will tell Strider, and he'll find us. He's a great tracker, you know.'
'Oh, aye, I had heard something to that effect... do we have any food?'
'It's on its way back to the White City, in the saddlebags.'
'What good is a picnic without food?'
'You're asking me?'
'The sun's going down.'
'They're not here yet.'
'I'd noticed that, too. Maybe Strider wasn't in when the ponies arrived. I'm sure they'll be here soon.'
'It's getting cold.'
'Here, we can share my cloak. Good thing I had it on when the ponies bolted.'
'That's better. Huh. You're shivering as badly as I am. What good is it to share our warmth if we're both freezing?'
'Oh, well, I can think of worse things.'
'Oh, being tied hand and foot and having an orc draught forced down my throat, for one.'
'Come to think of it, an orc draught would be sort of warming, right now.'
'Go on with you!'
'No, really! Well, all right, it was disgusting. But you have to admit it was warming.'
'Well, I'm not shivering as badly, nor are you. In fact, I'm feeling warmer already.'
'D'you suppose we're freezing to death?'
'The thought had crossed my mind. Ah, well, it's not a bad way to go. Still, Strider might get here in time.'
'Pippin? Pippin? Are you asleep? Try to stay awake.'
'Diamond? Diamond, is that you? It's so good to see you again. You want me to come with you? Just a minute, I'm coming. Are you coming, Merry?'
'Pippin? I must have dozed off. Pippin, did you say something? Pippin? ... oh, Pippin, no ... Good night, cousin. May all your dreams be of peace... All, right, Pip ... I'm right behind you... Estella...?'