Dream Of Green And Home
by Vivien

Merry had never known cold like this. It was a cold that pierced through every part of his body, leaving him with nothing but numbness and pain. He was covered by snow, despite Bill the pony acting as a wind block. When they had first stopped on the mountainside, he had kept the snow swept off himself and Pippin as much as he could, but he had soon grown too tired to keep up with it.

Every time he opened his eyes, the wind stung them with pellets of ice, and now he dreaded opening them at all. He didn't want to see what was happening anymore.

He heard a whimper from his left. Pippin was much worse off than he. Merry let his eyes slit open a tiny bit, flinching from the blast of cold that hit them immediately. He brought a numb hand up to Pippin's face and brushed off the snow that was threatening to bury the smaller hobbit. He huddled into Pippin's side, draping his arm and cloak over his cousin's cold form. He was barely aware of Frodo and Sam on the other side of Pippin, but he felt the shudders of their bodies matching his own.

He'd faced deadly perils since leaving the Shire, but it struck him now that this might truly be his ending. He'd known he very well might perish on this journey, but he'd imagined it would have been in a more heroic way. Freezing to death on the side of a mountain didn't seem right, somehow. His head dropped to rest against Pippin's stiff curls, and he felt himself slipping away from the harsh mountain pass. He was back in Brandy Hall, safe in his rooms. He was in his own bed, comfortably under thick quilts; his body stretched on the soft mattress, every muscle relaxed. The sun was coming up, and he could look out his round window to see the green and gold of the trees and fields across the Brandywine sparkling in the morning light. He sighed and nuzzled in closer to Pippin.

He was still in this happy dream of green and home when he was wrenched back into the frigid cold by strong hands pulling him out of the snowdrift. He wished then that he'd stayed home after all - oblivious to Rings and danger and duty and love - as he stood there, numb on frozen feet. But one look at Frodo's miserable, tired face washed the wish away, and Merry reached down into himself to the core of his soul that burned hot and bright and found the strength to stand the cold a little while longer.


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