TITLE: "Day For Night" (1/1)
AUTHOR: mcee (mcee@fangy.net)
SITE: http://fangy.net/lotr
ARCHIVE: Anklebiters!
PAIRING: Pippin/Merry
SUMMARY: Some things, such as playfulness, doesn't go away.

(This really mostly belongs on the vampire-hobbits list, but what if you don't know what you're missing? Tsk tsk.)

* * *

Pippin holds his hand up, palm outward, relaxed. The specks of dust swirl in the faint daylight around his fingers, floating lazily on the morning air. He tilts his head curiously and smiles.

"Pippin, come to bed!" Merry yells from deeper into their hole, where there are no windows and the dust doesn't dance, just settles in thick layers over things moving and still.

"In a moment," Pippin mutters absently, and turns his wrist so that the back of his hand is now against the light. It's like kitten claws on his skin, tingling over the small bones on the pleasant side of pain. He likes to push it, to see how far he can go before it really hurts, before flesh starts to singe and smoke. His arms are dotted with fading burn scars, and there are spots on his feet where hair won't grow anymore. He throws a resentful look at the overcast patch of sky between the half-drawn drapes, wishing secretly for a clearer day.

His feet skirt the beam of light streaking the floor; Pippin can feel the prickle of dawn on his toes as he crouches down as close to the brightness as he can while remaining in the shadow he is confined to. The smell of scorched wool tickles at his nose, and he tries to ignore it just like he does his best to ignore all the other smells that have suddenly amplified tenfold overnight, ever since-- But some of it is good, like the smell of morning dew sprinkled over freshly cut grass, or the smell of cooling peach cobblers on the window ledge a few doors down, even though he can't actually find it in himself to be hungry for cobblers--peach or otherwise--anymore, much to his disappointment. It's little changes like this that are driving him to something, a constant, he's always been fond of: sunlight.

He likes to chase it across the floorboards, watch it creep along the walls over his head, reach for it on the ceilings, where it skips over the wooden beams like hobbit-children. He goes to bed eyes wide open, and watches the yellow glow between the pulled curtains, and the way light leaks carelessly around the edges, bleeding in with the smial's perpetual darkness within. He misses the outside, the way the Shire looks in daytime, lush greens and rich golds, moving and breathing. He could still see it on the back of his eyelids, like when he'd stare up at the sun for a moment too long and then see globes of bluish purple everywhere afterwards. "I'm over here, Pippin Took! Over here!" the dancing suns seem to say then, unwilling to be ignored. Pippin liked that.

He misses everything, from the colours of the Shire to the bluish purple globes, and he misses the sunburns, too, the way his hair would dry within minutes after a quick dip in the Brandywine. He misses the hot days that would make Merry take off his shirt, sweat beading on the smooth curves of his back. Merry's skin is like milk now, but Pippin isn't sure it really is that pale, or if it just seems like it in the moonlight. He supposes it doesn't matter; it still feels warm under Pippin's palm, like Merry stocked up sun-warmth just for him, just for this, because he knows he likes it.

"PIPPIN! Come to bed, I said!" Merry's voice holds its usual note of fond exasperation. Pippin walks two fingers on the beam of light on the floor one last time before jumping to his feet and running down the hall toward the beloved voice.

But his stomach is growling, and he thinks of stopping for a bedtime snack first. The pantry key--its ornate iron rusting and worn with use--weighs in his coat pocket. He retrieves it and fits it into its lock, enjoying the metallic click of the door handle, and congratulates himself once again on having stolen it from Merry that very evening.

The door creaks open on its hinges, and what's left of the intrusive daylight this deep into the hole pours weakly into the dark room. Frodo looks up, startled, and squints painfully. It is pitch black in here with the door closed and locked, and he's become unaccustomed to the glare of day. Pippin finds him huddled in the corner of the small room, behind a forgotten sack of rotting carrots. He doesn't look at Pippin as the younger hobbit approaches, but clutches at what is left of his best suit--rags, really, burnt at the edges like paper--in fear of Pippin's more playful moods. He'd rather have his cousin hungry than bored. He doesn't want to imagine what would happen if both happened at once.

Pippin feels the dust move under his feet, wedging itself between his toes and into the cracks of the floor. He can make out a still shadow next to Frodo. Sam, he guesses, whom Merry finished off at dusk in his characteristic breakfast appetite. Pippin protested weakly at the loss of such a vocal plaything--especially vocal upon the torture of his master, which only made toying with the former master of Bag End even more pleasurable for his young relative.

Pippin crouches by Frodo, grinning at the involuntary flinch he provokes, and runs his fingers against the pulsing warmth of Frodo's throat. The skin there is even more scarred than his own, little ridges of hardened flesh criss-crossing the smooth expanses here and there, results of Pippin's whims. Merry had once described him as a cat pawing at a mouse for the sheer cruelty of it, but Pippin didn't like to think of it that way. He liked scars, the little marks marring beauty uselessly, not unlike disturbing the peace on a hot day by stealing whatever from whoever's garden. It felt familiar, oddly, and comforting.

"P-Pippin, no . . . pl-please . . ." The pantry is dry. His voice is hoarse and broken. Frodo has an arm wrapped tightly over the still body next to him, clutching it to his chest for reasons Pippin doesn't care to explore.


Merry's voice is growing impatient, and Pippin realises that he's been mistaking one hunger for another. His hand falls from Frodo's face and he stands, patting the dust off the knees of his breeches. He reaches out to ruffle Frodo's dirty curls, then skips away back to the hall, where the door swings shut heavily, locking itself behind him.

"Coming, Merry!"