Author's Note: None of these characters belong to me, because they came from the mind of JRR Tolkien. This was written purely for my entertainment and the enjoyment of others, and I would appreciate any feedback you have to give.

Pippin was tired, though extremely exhausted was a better way to describe it. He hadn't slept for days, not since arriving at Amon Hen. It had been such a peaceful place and he berated himself presently for not taking advantage of the soft mossy ground. His present surroundings would not allow him to rest at all. He was tied to the back of a foul-smelling orc. It wasn't just an orc, he supposed, it was an Uruk-hai, and a filthy rotten one at that. He hoped he would be saved. Aragorn must have been tracking them…unless…no. He wouldn't think of it. He couldn't give up hope.

He glanced behind him and caught sight of Merry. Poor Merry, with that horrible gash on his forehead. He hadn't spoken since the first beating they had received; he hadn't even opened his eyes. Pippin wondered if his friend was all right. He wished there was something he could do for Merry, but he was trapped.

Since Moria, everything had gone wrong for the Fellowship. Gandalf was…dead, and it was all Pippin's fault. If he hadn't been so clumsy, it would never have happened. Boromir was dead as well--Pippin had stupidly run out into the path of a hundred raging Uruk-hai. He should have gone back to the Shire. There, at least, he would have been as far away from Frodo and the Ring as he could have been--far enough away to keep them…and himself from harm. He was a fool not to have listened to Lord Elrond. How arrogant had Pippin been to assume he knew more than Elrond? Compared to the Elf Lord, he knew next to nothing. He certainly knew nothing about how he would fare in battle, which he had proven to do rather poorly. He was a hobbit, not a warrior!

"Quit squirmin' back there, ye little worm!" the Uruk-hai grunted savagely. Pippin yelped as the great beast knocked him about. Not that it made a bit of difference, but he did not recall moving at all.

When he was finally thrown roughly to the ground that night, he felt great relief. He sought out his companion and crawled over to him. "Merry, wake up, Merry," he whispered desperately.

After a moment, the hobbit's eyes slowly fluttered open and he let out a painful groan.

A smile crept onto Pippin's lips. "Well, you're alive."

"Barely," Merry choked. He squinted at the bright moon in the sky. "I can't see--where are we?"

Pippin peered around in the darkness. He could not see much besides the heaving bodies of the orcs as they rested. "I'm not exactly sure." He looked at Merry, concerned. "Are you going to be all right?"

The gash above Merry's right eye was bleeding freely. His face was pale and had an almost greenish hue to it. He let his eyes close gently and exhaled hoarsely. "I'm just a little tired…that's all."

"I won't let anything else happen to you, Merry," Pippin said, lying down beside him. He stared up at the myriad stars in the sky. He felt as if he could reach up and touch one, maybe be carried away by one. He listened to Merry's breathing. It was deep, but ragged and uneven. He was worried. If he stopped thinking, he would feel better. Stop thinking and sleep, he told himself defiantly. Why did he always have to be so thoughtful?