Title: Memorabilia and Other Useful Things
Author: Illwynd
Summary: Remember Pippin's little pouch where he kept a spare pipe? Here's all the other things he kept there.
Disclaimer: Tolkien takes the credit for the good. I take the blame for the bad.
Notes: Written for Exercise 6 at LJ comm There n Back

In the ruin of Isengard, the Three Hunters sat with the two hobbits, taking their ease and talking together while they could. Gimli puffed thoughtfully on the pipe that Pippin had given him, and suddenly turned to the young hobbit.

"What other treasures do you keep in that pouch of yours, if I may be so bold as to ask? I had never seen it on you before."

Pippin smiled at this. "Well, it's just… things. Sometimes useful things like that pipe I gave you, and nothing of any great value to anyone else… most of it, I guess, you would wonder why I carry. My cousin over here," he gave Merry a playful shove, "calls me a pack-rat. Once when we were younger, he stole it from me, just to see what I would do without it."

"And I do recall you wailed about it until I took pity and gave it back, then you huddled away with it in a corner to make sure nothing was missing," Merry said with a grin. By now even Strider and Legolas were curious, and they all prodded Pippin with questions until he gave in. He set the little pouch down on the rock in front of him, and spread its soft fabric out carefully, touching each object within as if counting them. The others leaned close to look. Some of the objects were identifiable, some not. A small clear blue stone carved into the shape of a mushroom, a little piece of torn yellow fabric, a button, a little dried thing that looked like it might have once been a flower, an unidentifiable grey-brown dried thing, a twig, a grey pebble, a folded slip of paper. Also there was a bit of flint, a needle and thread, and a knife smaller than a hobbit's little finger in a worn leather sheath. These last he set aside.

"Useful things there, obviously. Now, let's see…" He picked up the little blue stone, rubbed it briefly between his fingers. "Old Bilbo gave me this, I suppose it was one of his treasures from his adventure, but I can't imagine who made it or why. He gave it to me when I was quite young, and would always manage to appear at his door whenever he was cooking mushrooms, or so he said. He told me that if I kept it with me, I would always have at least one mushroom, and so never be completely deprived. I think this was the first of my collection." He set it back down on the cloth reverently.

Next he picked up the scrap of yellow fabric. "You probably won't believe me about this, but this was once part of the loveliest dress I have ever seen. A sweet lass who tumbled with me in the fields, my first and only, gave me this. She tore it straight from the hem of her dress. 'So you'll never forget me,' she said. I haven't. Someday I think I will marry her," He said with a wistful sigh.

His face grew a wide smile as he touched the unidentifiable dried thing. "This here is a memorial of the first time I had a too much to drink. I vaguely recall having a bit of supper at the Green Dragon, and I remember there were mushrooms, but I don't remember sticking one of the mushrooms in my pocket, probably thinking I'd save it for later. Apparently I did, though, for I found one there the next morning, and I dried it and kept it as a reminder to myself that there is such a thing as too much ale."

"And this," He continued, picking up the little twig, "is a twig I found on the ground in Fangorn. All this stuff is to remember people and places I don't ever want to forget. This pebble here is from Hollin, and this is one of those pretty little elanor flowers from Lothlorien." He didn't even touch the withered flower, just pointed to it, as if afraid it would crumble, though it had survived whatever jostling it had endured in the little pouch in all his travels.

"This one…" he paused, picking up the button and gazing at it, a smile and a frown fighting for control of his expression, "This was one of Boromir's buttons. I found it on the ground one morning… two months ago now, I guess… I suppose I should have given it back to him, but I… I wanted it for my collection." He looked down, the frown finally winning.

The others sat in silence uncomfortably until Legolas asked, "What about that slip of paper? What is written on it?"

Pippin looked up, coming back from far away. "Oh, that." He smiled mischievously. "That is the prize of all prizes. It's my list of all the times I have ever pulled a prank on Merry and gotten away with it!" He barely managed to close up the pouch again before Merry pounced.