“Ouch! Stop bumping into me, Pippin.”
“Sorry,” came the rather sheepish reply. “It’s pitch-black and I don’t want to get lost.”
“Or run into a tree branch again,” Merry said under his breath, just low enough that Pippin would not understand his words.
“What did you just say?” the younger hobbit asked eagerly and Merry wisely decided to change the subject. “Tell me again why we are doing this!”
“As if you didn’t know. Strider is always disappearing at night when he is not on watch duty. And some hours later, Legolas is gone as well. As if we wouldn’t notice!” Here he sounded part indignant, part proud of his own perceptiveness and Merry chuckled. “And we are investigating what those two are up to.”
“We? I voted for a good night’s rest. You instead, decided to put your nose where it doesn’t belong. Again.”
Pippin chose that moment to once again bump into Merry, whose foot in turn caught on a tree root causing him to lose his balance. He waved his arms frantically in the hopes of preventing his fall, but knew instantly that it was hopeless. He crashed forward and down and Pippin followed a second later, landing on Merry’s back and forcing the air from his lungs.
Merry wanted to say something, preferably something scathing and sarcastic, but he didn’t get the chance, because a rustling sound to their left caught his attention. He instantly thought of some wild beast, a wolf or wild boar maybe, and how both Pippin and he would look like a tasty meal to such an animal.
He recognized his mistake instantly, though, when he turned his head and saw two figures not far to their left. They probably would have passed them by had Pippin not been so clumsy.
The light was bad, but the fellowship had been together long enough that Merry could easily discern Strider’s and Legolas’ silhouettes. The elf was leaning against a tree, his shirt open and showing bare skin. Strider was fully clothed and had not even bothered to undo his coat. He was in front of the elf, his hands on parts of Legolas’ body that made Merry blush furiously. Both had frozen when the two hobbits had come crashing through the underbrush, but they had obviously not done anything to step away from each other.
“So you are lovers?!” Pippin squealed and Merry wondered how the rascal was able to speak at all. He himself was too shocked to even attempt logical thought. Whatever they had thought to find (and in Pippin’s case, he admitted that thinking had probably not come into play), this was not it.
“Guilty as charged,” Strider’s voice carried over to them and Merry could see that unnerving glint in the man’s eyes that tended to appear when he was about to do something unexpected or downright scary. And he did, kissing Legolas full on the lips and purposely ignoring the shrieks and groans of two traumatized hobbits.
- The End