The title is excatly what it says; Merry and Pippin talking. Granted, they are sitting on a riverbank in Buckland, talking about the future of the Shire, but they're talking all the same. Oh, and this is bookverse. Pippin might be a bit OOC, but that's all. (This story makes a reference to a story on Fanfiction.net)

I own nothing, blah blah....

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"Merry, do you think we'll ever end up losin' the Shire?"

Merry looked up from the book he was writing in; one about pipeweed.

"Losin' it, Pip? What do you mean, losin' it?"

The Took sighed and closed the book he was gazing at.

"I mean, like some big folk come and take it, and then Buckland, and so on"

Merry straightened, and stretched his feet out on the sun-warmed grass.

"Pip, that's no way to be talkin' as Thrain"

Pippin swatted away the term like a fly.

"Oh, don't call me that! I hate all the responsiblities"

Merry chuckled.

"Like what? There's nothin' in the Shire that requires you to call anyone to arms. And besides, Pip, Aragorn said that Big Folk weren't allowed in the Shire no more, 'specially after Saruman came."

Pippin nodded.

"Well, that's true...but somethin's got me thinkin' that Middle-Earth won't be here much longer"

Merry put the book down altogether and looked at Pippin.

"What's wrong with you? You sound like the world's comin' to an end tomorrow." Merry laughed a bit, something he was prone to do, years after the war of the Ring.

"Well, Merry, maybe it could"

Merry grew serious.

"What do you mean, Pippin?"

Pippin sighed deeply.

"I mean, look at now. A huge, tremendous, world-endin' battle's takin' place, and we were in it. Through the course of everythin', we learned that Ents are dyin' out, the Elves are gone, and the dwarves are content to work themselves to death. All that's left of major peoples in Middle-Earth is us Hobbits and the Men."

Merry hadn't realized that before. He took a shuddering breath, thinking of all the proclamations of Men coming to power. Did that truly mean that Men were going to be the only race in Middle-Earth soon?

"Merry? Merry? You in there?"

The Brandybuck shook his head.

"Yes, Pip, I'm still here. What were you sayin'?"

Pippin looked towards the west, towards the horizon.

"Frodo's lucky out there with the Elves; I don't suppose he'll have to see us all dissapear from the memory of men."

"He told you somethin', didn't he?"

Pippin sighed as he pulled a cloth-wrapped object from his coat. He carefully unwrapped it; a pewter letter-opener, really a dagger dulled with age.

"He gave me this before he left...I guess I feel I've got him still here. But he told me, 'Pippin, listen to me. Enjoy the Shire for me, for others, and for Boromir. I know you can tell what'll happen, Pip; you're smarter than you let on. Keep the Shire safe for me, understand? Fight for it if need be. But if history decides to forget Shire-folk, let it happen. Perhaps it'll ease the guilt of Man' "

Merry was a bit angry.

"Let it happen? Let something take our home, and burn it? Pip, you aren't going to go by what he said, Eru forgive me for speaking ill of Frodo, are you?"

Pippin picked up his book again and ran his fingers over the parchment pages.

"I don't know...perhaps, Merry"

"Perhaps? You'd let the Shire be run over and destroyed? Pippin, are you mad?"

The Took didn't look up. Merry pulled the book from Pippin's hands and held him up by the collar.

"It's your responsiblity to make sure that doesn't happen, Pip! How could you just stand there and do nothing?"

Pippin brought his eyes to meet Merry's.

"You asked Treebeard the same thing"

Merry let go of Pippin's collar.

"Your point, Pip?"

The Took cracked his neck and gestured out towards the Shire.

"You see that? As Thrain, I'm in control of that, but I don't rule it. I'm a part of this world, just as much as everyone else, and so are you, Merry. This old world. Middle-Earth's changin'. It's been changin'. And the old world's goin' while the new one's coming in. It's like a snowball, rollin' along and takin' with it anythin' in its way."

Merry sank against the grass and pulled his pipe from a pouch. He deposited a few sparks from a tinderbox (a parting gift from Gimli) into the base and took in a deep breath, then exhaled in a cloud of cool grey smoke.

"I know, Pip. I just..."

"Don't wanna see what we all worked so hard to save dissapear. I know."

A silence settled over the two hobbits as small clouds of shimmering smoke filled the air. Merry looked up at the sky.

"Pip, what's today?"

Pippin looked at his cousin before thinking, his eyes moving back and forth as if he was counting with them.

"I think it's the fifth of March, Merry"

Merry smiled, then stood and brushed himself off.

"Do you suppose we could make it to Edoras in twenty days?"

Pippin smiled softly.

"I suppose...but we could reach Minas Tirith much faster..."

Merry playfully shoved his cousin.

"Oh, that's an outright lie, Pip, and you know it"

Pippin laughed.

"So? What's your point?"

"Ummmm...."

"Exactly"

The two hobbits put away their pipes and stood facing each other, straining not to laugh.

"I shall see you soon, Sir Meriadoc Brandybuck" Pippin spoke, giving a mock bow to his friend.

"Much the same, Master Perigrine Took"

The two hobbits broke into laughter and went their seperate ways to pack for their trip.

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There, see? Not very angsty, but an idea that wouldn't leave me. -growls- darn plot bunnies!

In case you didn't know, the Ring was destroyed March 25 (when Easter used to be celebrated), much as the quest started on December 25 (Christmas). I figured that the boys would go see thier old pals every few years. The book said they did (probably not as often as I'm thinkin', though. They leave regularly after Sam....whoops, that would be a spoiler).

So I've finished babbling. What do you think, dear Reader?