*I don't really know why I'm here. I thought I did. I'm not really sure of anything anymore. It seems so very long ago that I was able to laugh. I don't feel like me anymore. I wish I could make this all change, get better somehow. Can I ? I don't think I know how. This is not what I thought I would be doing. I just wanted to have a bit of fun, but this....*

The young hobbit brushed a handful of dirt-clad curls out of his green eyes. His small body ached. Every time he started to stand he could feel the pains of his mucles pulling inside him and he decided sitting just a bit longer wasn't harming anything. His weather-beaten face was chapped be the cold wind coming up the plains. If there was any pain from this he wouldn't know. Somehow all that he had gone through seemed to numb him in ways that he could have never imagined. Pippin's gaze wandered from the small hole now forming at his feet to his cousin. Merry paced nervously as if he was ingaged in some innerbattle struggling to find the winning solution to the puzzle.

*Poor Merry*

He watched for a moment silently. Merry's eyes seemed to be filled with unshed tears and Pippin realized at that moment that he hadn't seen him cry in a very long time.

*It can't stay like this.*

"You know Merry, it could be worse." The Took's eyes gleamed with a newly found hope that immediantly sent a spark into the chest of the downtrodden Brandybuck. This was too much for Merry to take. He looked solemly at his irrepressable cousin, wondering what in the name of the shire had gotten into the lad.

"I don't follow you, Pip," he asked a bit confused. "How could things possible get worse than they are."

Pippin looked at Merry, making all the hurt and pain that had been following them melt away into the smile that spread across his face.

"Well, what would you rather be stuck with? Me or that dratted food that Strider always tried to convince us was edible?"

At this Merry could hold out no longer. His tears mixed with his laughter and he could feel the weight in his body be lifted up. How could Pip manage to put all of the past aside, even if only for a minute, to make such a much needed joke.

"Bless you, Pip." Merry said through his odd combination of sobs and chuckles. "You have a way with words."

Pippin smiled. He knew Merry's heart felt a bit better and to him nothing else, no matter how horrible it may seem at the time, could possibly matter.