Back to the Hobbits now to find out Treebeard's verdict. I don't own anything.

Kim Andrews

Sometimes I wondered what the point in fucking being alive was.

Here I was, sitting on a bed of incredibly soft grass, while my best friend was probably being murdered. It made my grind my teeth, feeling that damn useless. "If someone doesn't tell us something in the next hour I'm running round and setting fire to as many Ents as possible before one stomps on me," I growled. Merry's lips twitched, and I lay back. "I want chocolate. And coffee. And tequila shots. And a shower...oh, there's a lot of things I want." I added sex in my head. It would feel kinda wrong talking about all my other fuckbuddies with Merry there.

"Pipe-weed?" Pip suggested.

"Nope. I don't do drugs, though I did eat a funny brownie once. Turned out Fletch baked them with almost a half pound of reefer in there as well as the fudge chunks. I had some pretty whacked dreams that night."

Twenty minutes later, we finally saw Treebeard lumbering over, and I hoped it wasn't about us not being Orcs again. I mean, come on, if there was a Hobbit Miss Universe I'd kick ass-I didn't look like an Orc! Still. I got up and started bouncing up and down on my toes impatiently. Come on, just tell us you're gonna help our friends not get killed...

"The Ents cannot hold back this storm. We must weather such things as we have always done," he intoned.

I blinked. I'm sorry, what? WHAT?! "How can that be your decision?!" Merry snapped, furious. Cold numbness froze me to the spot. Oh, my God...

"This is not our war."

"BUT YOU'RE PART OF THIS WORLD!" Merry's shout had them all looking at each other, confused. He hugged me to his chest protectively, burying his face in my hair for a minute and then resurfacing. Apparently there'd been some teary action going on because I could feel a damp spot on my head. "Aren't you?!" The Ents looked at each other awkwardly. If I was actually capable of opening my mouth, a hissy fit of epic proportions would have gone on, but I kept my trap shut. "You must help! Please! You must do something..." The hope was leaking out of his voice with every word he said. Treebeard looked at him sadly.

"You are young and brave, Master Merry. But your part in this tale is over. Go back to your home," he sighed.

"Is that it?" I whispered, tears starting to make my vision go weird and blurry. "We just...leave?"

"It seems like that," Merry replied defeatedly.

I heard Pippin talking to him as we started getting ready to move out. "Maybe Treebeard's right. We don't belong here, Merry. It's too big for us! What can we do in the end?" Pip wondered out loud. The next couple of words to come out of his mouth were supposed to be comforting, or so I kinda thought. "We've got the Shire. Maybe we should go home."

Merry didn't answer for a minute. Then he swallowed and breathed deeply, sad and tired. "The fires of Isengard will spread...and the woods of Tuckborough and Buckland will burn. A-And all that was once green and good in the world will be gone. There won't be a Shire, Pippin," Merry told him.

TFE TFE TFE TFE TFE TFE

Treebeard was giving us a piggyback as far as he could. I was going with the boys, back to the Shire-I always liked sightseeing, and maybe I'd get a place down there. Maybe we, me and Merry, would get a place and be together. I'd never known what I wanted to do with my life, really. Settling down with a sweet, gentle, brave man and having kids and leading a peaceful life couldn't be that bad, right? I felt an aching pang in my chest. Me and Kitty were supposed to stick together...and here I was, abandoning her. Again. But it was probably what she'd want me to do, knowing her crazy way of thinking about things, and she'd want me to be out of danger.

I mean, come on, if she lived and got over her terminal denial, Cat and her irritating, slightly insane, goofy Romeo would probably get hitched and ride off into the sunset. Legolas annoyed me for a lot of reasons. His innocence, despite being a billion years old, pissed me off. He was like, happy! All the time! I'd never seen him actually angry, or upset, or just sad. I think. He was just sickeningly cheerful. Merry on the other hand could actually express himself and didn't rely on happiness so much. I'd definitely gotten the better man there. Okay, Legolas was smoking hot, but I kind of liked the short, curly thing these days. Was that why Cat was into him? Because he was so...golden and perfect? I did this a lot. Wondered why people were lovey-dovey with other people. Only before, it had been more, why is he going out with her and not me?

Well, I'm the first to admit my moral compass doesn't exactly point north. Okay, okay, I'm a bitch, and kind of a reformed slut. I just liked sex, the excitement of the different boys, which was awesome at the time. Was it that wrong? Meh. I wasn't that concerned. Never was, never will be.

Still, it wasn't making sense. Cat, when she dated (which was pretty fucking rare) went for bad boys. The two times she'd gone out with a guy both ended because she wouldn't let them get her in the sack, but let me give you the proper lowdown because she won't. There was Sebastian first (I swear she liked his name more than him), a Danny Zuko type with a shaggy dirty-blond mullet, only unlike Danny there was no cute, puppy-dog side to him when he was away from his friends. He was like an octopus, too-he only dated Cat because he was bored and never fucked a redhead, I shit you not. But she dumped him, so that plan kind of backfired. Then there was Zack. Zack was nice enough and had gorgeous cheekbones, but then she decided she didn't like it when he got all close and personal. They had an argument and he ended it.

The most meaningful relationship I'd had recently (before the Middle-earth shit) was a monther with Will, a guy with rumpled black hair and pretty toffee-brown eyes. He was passionate and wild and fiery underneath the cute puppy surface, but the sex had actually been really boring and I hadn't even gotten to my happy place. Ugh. So after that, I ended it. You have to have some kind of sexual chemistry! Before that, it was Tom, before that, Peter, before that, Frank, before that there was Brendan...Christ, there are tonnes of before that's, so many I can't even count.

Still, once I started getting to know Merry, anything I ever felt for any of them was gone in a puff of sultry-smelling smoke. He was like an Indian summer day after weeks of it pissing down with rain, even though I usually leave deep and meaningful crap to other people. He was kind and cute and sweet and completely fucking adorable all at once, but he was deeper than that, you know? Ugh. I love getting to the nitty gritty details of other people's relationships but when it comes to talking about my own to anyone other than my best girlfriend it gets awkward.

Whatever. The original subject's been lost.

Depressed again, I sat in Merry's lap and tried to sleep off the nine or so hours I'd been awake.

TFE TFE TFE TFE TFE TFE

Merry Brandybuck

I was too sad to fall asleep.

Despite all of the awful things that Sauron and Saruman were doing, despite the fact that our friends could die without our assistance, the Ents weren't going to help us. Treebeard was taking us as far as he could, and then we were going to return home, but Sauron could already have gotten there. For all we knew, the Shire was burnt to the ground and everyone was dead. Aching unhappiness chewed at me like a dog would a bone as I realised that all the efforts Pippin, Kim and I had made had failed. So I couldn't bring myself to close my eyes and forget everything for a few hours. I simply sat, numb, patting the long, curly golden hair resting on my shoulder. Apparently, Kim was the exact opposite and slept when she was sad.

"I will leave you at the western borders of the forest. You can make your way north to your homeland from there," Treebeard murmured, as he made his way carefully through the branches of Fangorn Forest.

Just as I kissed the top of her head and settled down for the journey, Pippin spoke up. "Wait! Stop! Stop!" he cried, his eyes widening. I frowned. What was he up to? And as Treebeard halted, I found out. "Turn around. Turn around-take us south."

"South?" the Ent wondered out loud. "But that would…lead you past Isengard…"

"Yes. Exactly. If we go south, we can slip past Saruman unnoticed! The closer we are to danger, the farther we are from harm-it's the last thing he'll expect."

Both me and Treebeard puzzled over this bright idea. "Hmm…well, that doesn't make sense to me…but then, you are very small. Perhaps you are right…south it is, then. Hold on, little Shirelings!" As he mused to himself about liking the southern way, I looked at Pippin incredulously.

"Are you mad?! We'll be caught!" I hissed. My friend only grinned at me.

"No, we won't," he answered simply. "Not this time."