Shadows of Innocence Lost

By Olivia Sutton

Disclaimer: This is a totally unauthorised LotR fanfic. No money or profit is being made from this fanfic. Don't own them, just borrowing them. No copyright infringement is intended to the Tolkien Estate or New Line Cinema, or anyone else for that matter. Enjoy! Reviews are welcome.

For www.fanfic.net

Formatting note: As always, comments between double slash marks, //like this// are thoughts. Words between asterisks *like this* are bolded or emphasised.

Rating: PG-13

Summary: The aftermath of the incident with the Palantír catches up with Pippin. Non-slash. *The Two Towers* and *Return of the King* spoilers.

Characters: Peregrin Took, Diamond Took, Merry Brandybuck

Shadows of Innocence Lost

By

Olivia Sutton

Merry came rushing out of his study at Brandy Hall, and straight into the arms of his wife, Estella. He pulled away, "Not now, Estella-- I have to leave, I have to get to the Great Smials."

"Merry?" asked Estella.

"I...I lost track of the days. Today is March 5th--I never leave Pippin alone on the day, Estella. But this year...I lost track of the days. I must get to him."

Stella nodded, "Go... Go, Merry. Take care of him."

Merry nodded, quickly kissed his wife, and bolted out of Brandy Hall. He took a small horse from the stable, and galloped across the Shire, flying as fast as he could. Merry urged his horse, faster and faster as he rode. Visions danced in his eyes, a night of horrors, a night his sweet, young cousin lost his innocence forever. Biting his lip, Merry urged his horse onwards, across the shire to Tuckburough.

* * * * *

"Pippin, open the door! Please, open the door," Diamond Took yelled, slamming her hand on the study door. "Please, Pippin," she pleaded, then she turned away from the door. Her face was red with tears, her hand smarted from pounding on the door, and her voice was hoarse from shouting. Diamond was surrounded by Hobbits, both servants and relations. None of them had been able to get Pippin to open the door. After several hours of trying, Diamond had finally ordered that a rider go to Brandy Hall with a message, but she feared it would be too late. It was a 2-day journey to and from Brandy Hall.

Diamond heard a comotion from the main entry of Great Smials, and then Merry burst into the hallway, still in his riding clothes, and covered with the dirt from the road. "Di? Where is he?"

Diamond turned from the closed door to her husband's cousin, "How did you know? Nevermind, Merry, I'm glad you're here. Maybe you can get through to him...he's locked himself in his study, won't come out. He's been in there since sometime in the night."

Merry closed his eyes a moment, then said, "Tell me...tell me everything."

"He disappeared, from our room, in the night....And now, he won't even answer the door. He won't *talk* to me. He won't come out, even for Faramir."

Merry nodded, "Where is Faramir?"

"His nurse is taking care of him, in the nursery. I took her not to let him out."

"Good-- keep him there. And Diamond--go with him. Away from here, at least."

"No, no, Merry. Pippin is *my* husband, I need to be here."

"Di..." Merry grabbed her arm, "I don't have time to explain. I don't have the right. I can't tell you what's behind this, but..." Merry dropped her arm and turned from her, "Just go..."

Diamond thought of asking again, realised it would only delay Merry from helping Pippin, nodded and left, taking servants and relations that surrounded the door with her.

Once the other Hobbits were gone, Merry knocked on the locked study door. "Pippin, Pip--it's Merry, Di's gone, you can open up now," Merry paused, and heard nothing, "Pippin, you made me a promise once, remember? A solemn promise."

Merry heard a small whimper, then a scuffle, and his heart sank, then he heard the clicks of a lock being released. Finally, the door opened. Pippin stood there, wearing a white nightshirt. His face was wet with tears.

Merry gulped, entered the room, and shut the door behind himself. "Pippin, I'm sorry, I should have been here earlier."

Pippin nodded, once, briefly and returned to his leather chair by the fireplace. The fire was dead, and Pippin crawled under the grey wool blanket on the chair. Merry followed Pippin and knelt at Pippin's feet, saying nothing. Pippin slid out of the chair, onto the floor. "It's the same, Merry, the very same, the...fear, the sense of violation, that...unclean thing in my head, S--S--Sauron, in my mind. Hurting me." He was shaking, under the grey blanket, leaning against the leather chair.

Merry opened his arms but did not touch his cousin, not yet, "Shush, I know, Pippin, I know."

Pippin, dragging the blanket after him, like a child, crawled onto Merry's lap. Merry held his cousin, close, his right hand on his back, his left, stroking his hair, "Go ahead and cry, Pippin. It's okay, I'm here."

"Merry, I... every year. Every year, it's the same. Is this why Frodo left? Is this... is it like what the Ring did to Frodo?"

"I... I don't know, Pippin. Maybe. Sam would know, if anyone does, what Frodo went through with the Enemy's Ring. Pippin, I'm sorry... I should have been here for you, earlier. What happened?"

"I awoke, in the night, nightmares, I thought--but then... It... it was, like... Oh Merry, I went through it again. All of it, the pain," his voice dropped to a whisper, "Burning fire in my mind. . . violation. . . pain. . .fear. . . pain. . .shock."

"Shush, shush, Pippin...you're safe. He's gone. It's gone. No more, Pippin."

Pippin snuggled close, "Hold me."

"Always, dear heart, always."

Pippin collapsed in exhaustion against his chest, and Merry held him, the grey blanket, covering them both. Merry let his younger cousin sleep, tears in his own eyes. It was March 5th, ten years to the day, since Pippin had looked into the Palantír. Ten years to the day, since his cousin had had his innocence ripped away. Merry had his own memories of that day, memories of his cousin, lying still as death, eyes wide open, shocked, beyond the ability to react or talk at first. Gandalf's treatment of Pippin and then his taking Pippin away. His cousin had never been the same since. Merry held Pippin closer. "Oh, Pippin -- you were so young." Merry let his tears fall, into Pippin's tight curls.

* * * * *

Merry awoke, to find his arms empty, and that he was half lying, half sitting on the floor of an unfamiliar room, under a coarse, grey blanket. He looked around, then recognised the room as Pippin's study in Great Smials. "Pippin," Merry murmured, then he rushed to his feet, "Pippin!" he shouted. Merry felt a rush of panic in his veins, "Pippin!"

The door opened, "I'm here, Merry, no need to shout." Pippin smiled as he entered. He was dressed in soft velvets, and he smiled.

Merry did a double-take. Pippin looked so different than the tearful Hobbit who had fallen asleep in his arms.

Pippin rushed to his side, "It's all right, Merry. It's passed. The dark turn is over, and it's passed. I'm fine. I knew you needed your sleep, so I slipped out quietly to start breakfast, and let Diamond and Faramir know I was all right. I intended to be back before you awoke, Merry."

Merry nodded, too amazed at Pippin's recovery to speak.

Pippin somberly placed a hand on his cousin's shoulder. "Thank you for coming here, yesterday, Merry. I needed you."

Merry stood, "Always, Pippin. I'll always be here for you. I'm sorry I was so late this year."

Pippin embraced his cousin for an answer, and Merry returned the hug, tears in his eyes.

* * * * *

Part 2

Diamond finished setting the table, glad to know her husband was all right. She was too relieved to be truly angry, but she was still angry enough at being left in the dark, again, to be determined to get to the bottom of it. Momentarily, she heard noises and voices in the hall, then the door opened and Merry and Pippin entered.

Diamond quietly set out the food, then removed her apron and set it on a peg near the kitchen fire. Quietly, she sat down at the table.

Pippin sat next to Diamond at the head of the small, square kitchen table, Merry sat next to him, facing Diamond. He couldn't help but to notice his wife's expression and thought, //Uh-oh, I'm in for it.// "Di...Diamond, Where's Faramir?"

"I brought his meal to the nursery. Nurse will watch him. We need to talk."

Pippin nodded, "Di?"

"Yes, Peregrin?" she asked, blinking at him.

Pippin blanched, //She's mad, all right.// "What is it? What's wrong? Why are you angry at me?"

"Wrong?" she answered sweetly, "Now why would you think anything is wrong?"

Merry couldn't stand the tension and said, "Because you are obviously upset, Diamond Took. Now, stop the games, What is it?"

Diamond dropped the fake sweet voice and her voice became tinged with concern instead. "*Mister* Brandybuck, How is it that you know better than I do how to comfort my husband when he's hurting? I should be able to help him."

Pippin looked at Merry, then at his wife, "Merry knows things, things that happened to me, because he was *there*. And we've both had experiences..." his voice faded.

Merry added, "Diamond, there were things that happened..."

Diamond finished his sentence -- "...in the war."

"Yes, in the war..." replied Merry.

"Diamond, Merry saw what," his voice began to shake, but he forced it steady and continued, "happened. That is why I've always been able to go to him. When the nightmares are too much. He understands, without words."

"But I'm your *wife*. I promised to be here for you, in good times and bad. Don't I deserve an explanation? For all the sleepless nights? For being scared to my wits end, like yesterday?"

Merry and Pippin exchanged glances and Pippin nodded at Merry.

"Yes, yes you do," said Merry, and he paused.

"No, no Merry, I'll explain. I'll tell her."

Merry paled a little, the said, "Pippin, you've never talked about...not even to Frodo and Sam."

Pippin nodded, "I know, Merry, I know. Frodo and Sam had their own burdens. Do you think they told us *everything* that happened in Mordor?"

Merry thought about that comment a moment, and nearly missed his cousin's next sentence.

"I can do this, Merry." He stared straight ahead, not looking at Diamond on his right, or Merry on his left. "It started at Isengard, Diamond, after the Ents had destroyed the place. Gandalf and Saruman...argued, and Gandalf broke Saruman's staff. Cast him out of their order. The parting shot, was literally a parting shot, something was throw at us. I thought Saruman had thrown it, but later we realised it had to have been Grima Wormtongue. Anyway, this round, 'rock' came hurling down and nearly hit me. Of course I looked at it. When it landed, I went to grab it. But it wasn't a rock. It looked like... it was black, black glass, but it had an inner glow. Almost like highly polished dark wood. It was captivating."

Diamond leaned forward in her seat, concentrating on her husband's words.

"Later on, I was trying to sleep, and I couldn't get it out of my mind. I had to see it again. I had to look at that strange glow. So I took it...from Gandalf, while he slept."

"What happened? What was it?"

"It was a Palantír, one of the seeing stones of Númenor. It was meant to be a communication device over long distances."

"That doesn't sound so bad," Diamond started to say, but she stopped as she saw the pained expression on her husband's face.

Pippin continued to stare quietly ahead, without emotion, he stated, flatly, simply, and directly, "I was raped, Diamond."

Merry lowered his head and closed his eyes in pain. His cousin had never uttered that word, not once in the ten years since it had happened. Not to him, and not to Aragorn and Gandalf either as far as he knew.

Diamond looked at her husband, and placed a hand on his arm, she started to say something, then stopped. She started to say something, again, and stopped. Finally, she said, "When you say that, Pippin, What do you mean? You were, physically...I mean, by Orcs?"

Pippin shook his head no, "No. Sauron entered my mind, Diamond, using the Palantír, he entered my mind, questioned me, and when he didn't like the answers, he tried to take what he wanted. It...that unclean, filthy, hateful presence was in my mind. Hurting me." Pippin shivered then rushed on, "But then he just stopped, no one knows why. Not Gandalf, not Aragorn. I didn't betray Frodo, Diamond. I didn't. I kept the secret."

Diamond paled, "Pippin? And you saw this, Merry?"

"I...I saw Pippin with the Palantír. I saw it, attack him, he was writhing in pain, on the ground, screaming. I yelled for help. Finally, Aragorn took it from him and dropped it. It rolled away. Pippin fell, eyes open and staring, as if..." tears welled in Merry's eyes at the memory, "I thought I had lost him. I thought his youthful curiosity had finally...got him into something he couldn't escape." Merry turned from looking at Diamond to looking at Pippin, " I thought I had lost you."

"Gandalf woke me from the trance. I awoke, staring at Gandalf, his hand on my face, asking me questions. He made me talk about it, right then. He knew I hadn't betrayed Frodo. From what I had said as I came out of the trace, Gandalf told me Sauron believed me to be captive in Isengard, a 'dainty' of Saruman. Then, Merry told me that Sauron believed that *I* had the Ring. Gandalf took me to Minas Tirith, immediately after. Merry stayed with the Rohirrim and I went to Gondor. That's how Merry and I ended up in different armies of Men."

"The different uniforms?" asked Diamond.

"The different uniforms, " said Pippin and Merry, both said together, then nodded.

"So last night?" asked Diamond, "I awoke and you were gone. You hid yourself away."

"I...the memories were so strong. I wanted to be alone. I was afraid I'd hurt you, or Faramir, without realising it. I...I re-lived the attack, Diamond. This year it...it's like this every year, on March 5th."

Diamond said, "But you're never home in early March..."

"We normally go off together...Merry helps me through the nightmares, the visions, everything. He understands without my explaining. I love you, Diamond, but I won't risk hurting you. Merry is," Pippin looked to his cousin, his eyes shining with love, "He's able to be there for me."

"Pippin, Pippin, when you said you were hurt in the war, I never realised...Pippin, I'm sorry. I'm sorry it happened, and I'm sorry I made you talk about it. I'm so sorry, Pippin," said Diamond.

"No, it needed to come out. It's been ten years. I needed to..." Pippin stopped, "Hold me for a moment, Di."

Diamond went to her husband then, and held him tight.

The End

Author Note: Thank you to all my reviewers! Wow! Herald7--You're right, this is primarily MOVIE-verse based, I just didn't want to say that in the summary and spoil the story :)

But I think the film actually *did* do a really good job of visualising the violence of the Palantír scene from the book, and this story pretty much expresses *what* I thought was happening to Pippin in that scene, both book and movie.