Title: The Prophecy
Author: Anso the Hobbit
Beta: Marigold
Characters: Merry, Pippin, Aragorn
Timeline: Minas Tirith, March 16 SR 1419
Summary: As Merry is lying in the Houses of Healing Aragorn tells him about the prophecy regarding who could kill the Witch-king
Note: Written for Marigold´s challenge 9 after an idea from Pip Brandygin.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

PART ONE: MERRY

Pippin frowned. He had tried to coax Merry to eat breakfast all morning, and for all his troubles all Merry had managed was a cup of tea, one apple and a single slice of bread with jam on. Blackberry jam too, Merry´s favourite. Pippin sighed and put the tray on the bedside table.

In a little while Aragorn was coming to have a look at Merry to see how he was faring and if he possibly could get out of bed for a little while. Pippin had heard from one of the other guards that Legolas and Gimli had made it safely into the City and as he would very much like to see them, he hoped that Merry could be up and about, at least for a little bit so they could go and talk to their friends.

After the fright of almost losing his cousin to the Black Breath yesterday, Pippin watched Merry´s every move intently and saw to it that he was as comfortable as possible. The Man-sized bed was huge and there was more then enough room for Merry to lie down comfortably and for Pippin to do so too if he wanted.

Merry was lying down again now, weary after Pippin helped him with his morning ablutions and breakfast. Pippin had been told yesterday that Merry was not to get up until Aragon said he could. The fact that Merry hadn´t even tried to get up had Pippin worried, but he decided to not think about that just now. Aragorn would soon come and tell him how things were.

Merry hadnt been hungry, but had finally given in to Pippin´s pleas and encouragements and eaten a little. Every bruise and scratch he had sustained during the battle were making themselves known and he felt weak and his right arm hurt horribly. Pippin had stayed with him through the night and had been there when he woke up with the morning sun shining through the windows, something Merry was very grateful for. He didn´t think he could face another day without knowing Pippin was safe at his side.

"Pip?" Merry still felt rather groggy and his voice was somewhat shaky.

"Yes, Merry?" Pippin had returned to the bed and sat by Merry´s head, holding his cousin's cold, injured hand between his own, rubbing it lightly, careful not to hurt his Merry.

"Thank you." Merry turned his head on the pillow and tried to smile despite his weariness.
"For what Merry dear?"

"For finding me and saving me. I was so lost and lonely without you. I missed you horribly you know."

"I missed you too Mer –" The rest was cut off as the door softly opened and Aragorn peered in.

"We´re awake" Merry said. "Please, come in."

"Ah! I see you´ve had breakfast already." Aragorn gestured to the tray.

"Well, Ive had some, but Merry hardly ate anything. Will you look at him Strider? Will he be all right?" Pippin´s anxiousness betrayed his voice and a few tears fell.

Aragorn sat down on the bed on the other side of Merry and took the injured hand in his own, feeling the coldness of the limb. After a thorough examination he once again crushed a leaf of athelas and infused it in hot water, and while both hobbits breathed deeply of the refreshing, healing scent, he prepared and applied a poultice. Then he smiled at the hobbits and gave Pippin´s head a reassuring pat. "I suppose you´ll live Merry," he said in the same light manner hobbits use when talking of grave things. "If you want you can get up a little later today, but if you feel the slightest bit weary, sit down in the sun or go back to bed. I imagine you will feel that arm for some time, but the ache will diminish."

"Thank you." Merry said. Aragorn rose and walked to the window.

"It was most fortunate," he said after a time, as if talking to himself.

"What was fortunate, Strider?" Merry was now sitting up in bed, cradling his injured arm, but feeling better after the dose of athelas and with the healing herbs wrapped in the poultice around his arm also doing their work.

The Ranger and soon-to-be King turned and sat down on the bedside again. He looked long into the eyes of both hobbits before he spoke. They were both awake and alert, and Merry was healing nicely. Talking about that foul creature Merry had helped kill would most probably not make the Shadow take hold of the valiant hobbit again, and the scent of athelas was still in the room. He deemed them fit to hear what he had to say. "That you were a member of the Fellowship, and so came by many roads and many hardships to Minas Tirith. There was a prophecy about how the Witch-king would die. Did you of know this?"

Merry´s eyes opened wide in astonishment and he shook his head. Beside him Pippin gasped. Merry had read books of lore and old wisdom while in Rivendell, but had not come across any prophecy. Surely this must be something from the Second Age or even earlier? "No. I did not know. Who was the prophet? What did it say? Was it fulfilled?"

Merry didn´t like talking about that evil creature and he felt himself drawn to darkness again, but drew a deep breath to take in what was left of the athelas and shook his head, then forced his gaze to Aragorn´s face. He was safe now. Aragorn had healed him and Pippin was at his side.

Aragorn smiled. Merry surely hadn´t lost his inquisitiveness over the last few weeks. "It was Glorfindel, he that we met on the road to Rivendell, who said this prophecy to Eänur, more than a thousand years past; 'Do not pursue him! He will not return to this land. Far off yet is his doom, and not by the hand of man will he fall.'"

"What does that mean?" Pippin asked.

"It means that no man was destined to kill the Witch-king." Aragorn answered.

"But a woman and a hobbit were!" Pippin said. "Oh, Merry! You fulfilled a prophecy." He reached over and embraced his cousin as they sat on the big bed.

"So there was no other way then for him to be defeated?" Merry asked. "It was the only solution?"
"Yes, Im afraid so." Aragorn said. "You could have done nothing less."

Merry was quite taken aback by this bit of news. It was meant to be them, was destined long before he and Èowyn were even born. He felt odd that such a destiny should be his, but Èowyn had certainly been born for great things. His heart jumped in admiration and love for his sister-in-arms and he felt like running to her room to tell her. He hoped it would lighten her heart. Yesterday he had heard how she was faring and he was glad that she too was healed by Aragorn, but he was sorry that her arm was broken.

"Does Èowyn know about the prophecy?"

"I do not know Merry. You should speak to her about it."

"Yes, I think I will. Thank you Aragorn, for telling me."

"You are not downhearted by this?"

"No, why should I be? I do not want people to die if there is anything else to be done, but the Witch-king was pure evil and the evil would only continue to spread had he lived longer. I am not sorry for his death."
"Then go speak to Èowyn and perhaps this will bring joy to her heart." Aragorn said and with a kiss to each brow, left the hobbits to themselves.

"So" Pippin said. "What do you make of all this?"

Merry thought for a moment before answering. "I think, that if a woman and a hobbit can change the course of the war and fulfil a prophecy by ridding the world of an evil, then so be it. Like I said yesterday, there are some things deeper and higher than even the soil of the Shire, and I am glad that I know about them now, a little. Though it surprises me to find that I am myself part of something deeper and higher, and not just useless baggage, as I had feared."

He settled back into the pillows, smiling. "We brought the Ents to Isengard, and they caused the Huorns to go to the succour of Helm's Deep. You saved Faramir, and I have helped to fulfil a prophecy. We have done quite well for ourselves, Pippin."

Pippin smiled back, pleased that Merry was better. "Quite well indeed." He kept to himself the thought that the war was not yet won, nor the Ring destroyed. Right now they were together, Merry was getting well, and he would not think on those things yet.

"Pippin?"

"Yes, Merry?"

"Would you hand me that breakfast tray? I am hungry."

Glorfindel, in the Appendix of the Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien