He held on to the horse's bright white mane. It was not supposed to be this way. He was a hobbit, not a warrior. He should not be riding away to some city of kings--he was a hobbit.

"Peregrin Took, you have no one to blame but yourself," the great white wizard said sternly, making him feel even worse. "But perhaps you'll prove useful after all."

"I will try," the hobbit replied. He stared at the darkening sky, knowing the closer they came to Minas Tirith, the nearer Mordor would be. "Gandalf?" The wizard grunted. "Why couldn't Merry come with us? Why did we leave him behind?"

"Shadowfax can bear a great deal, but only one hobbit, I'm afraid," Gandalf replied remorsefully. "Pippin," he began, but stopped suddenly.

Pippin looked up hopefully. "Yes, Gandalf?" But the wizard merely shook his head and looked away. "For once, I wish I had been left behind," he murmured sadly.

Gandalf, instead of replying, pretended not to hear, and bid Shadowfax gallop more swiftly. He hated to see the hobbit behaving so sorrowfully--the foolish Took had always been in such good spirits, even when he should not have been. He placed a hand on Pippin's shoulder. "I brought you to keep you safe. The last thing I want on my conscience is that I've caused you any harm. You are not a soldier, Peregrin--you cannot fend off Sauron's armies by yourself."

"We've always been together," Pippin said. "And it seems selfish that I've left for protection. What if I never see him again?"

Gandalf chuckled. "Don't you fret about that, Master Peregrin. If I know anything about hobbits--of which I know very much--your Meriadoc will come out fine. Hobbits are made of sterner stuff than your average person, I've found. You will see each other again."

Pippin nodded. "I know...but in what state? Will he find me gored by a dozen arrows, or maimed by an orc's blade, my blood and body strewn about the battlefield?"

"Peregrin Took!" Gandalf nearly shouted out of disbelief and anger. "Young hobbits should not speak of such things!"

"It's true, isn't it, though?" he retorted defiantly. "Gondor is outnumbered, and if an entire race cannot fight the orcs, how can a hobbit? Where do I fit into all this? You can't expect me to stand and watch, Gandalf, I'll fight too, because there's no going back."

Gandalf suddenly burst out laughing. "Fool of a Took! You'd walk blindly off a cliff if it would save them, wouldn't you?"

"I would do anything if it meant that Frodo would live," Pippin said, hanging his head.

"I know you would."