Growing Pains

He wished he could write songs, poetry like they'd heard among the elves. He wished he could have made something, twined gold or silver around itself to created something wonderful like he'd seen on the helms and the scabbards of the dwarves. He wished he could paint, or build, or wield great command, like men.

He wished he could know history, cull great wisdom from the words and the world, like the ents and the wizards. But he had none of that, and he knew he was foolish for pretending to think he might have had. It was foolish, indeed, and it kept his mouth closed on the fantasies he created to fill up his dreams.

Here, though, closer to earth, where the hobbits lived and made their monuments, he had little enough to hope for. There were no fields for him to point to, and say that each plant growing had been once tended by his hand. He could claim no herds, could not name a single swine that he had fed and cared for. There were no carved wooden tools with his maker's mark, no iron hoes or pots, no weavers' signature bearing his initials placed into anything a single hobbit wore or used.

There was nothing he had made that he could place upon the plate. The chest that maidens filled before their wedding day would have stood stark, and lifeless, had one been expected of him. The tradition for boys not so different, for that -- they were still expected to bring their offering, though it would fit not in a chest, but in a livelihood.

He had nothing. The name his father had given him and the title it would carry someday meant only that someday he would have a son, or a nephew, or a cousin that he would name his successor. Even the titular monies collected each year at harvest meant little for this -- they were nothing he could claim for more than his family, and a stack of gold and grain were nothing he had made. Without the creation of his own hands, and his own skill, he could not do it. Could not walk through the front door of his beloved's home, and declare himself. Could not impress himself upon the father he would have to beg permission from, no matter how much his intended had his own mind to say yea or nay.

In all his life he had made nothing. It was not until now, when he knew he loved, that he understood that he also needed worth.


It was nearly full dark; dusk long since swallowed by the night and lack of moon. Pippin walked assuredly, for he knew his way, and even in total blindness could have followed the path to this door. His entire life he had known this door, the tiny walkway that led from the main path around to the side of the hill where this door sat, slightly hidden by the overhang of pressed earth.

The river could be hear clearly, tonight, as he walked the last several yards. Its presence had not intruded itself upon his awareness until now - perhaps a too familiar sound to notice? For as often as he were here, it might as well be said he lived here half the season and lived the other half in Smials -- with goodly chunks of time spent on the road between the two.

He nearly paused to listen to the sound of the river, thinking it might have reason for calling to him now -- was there a boat upon it? Were there pairs of young lovers skimming the banks, throwing in stones and laughing softly in the early summer's night? But he did not pause, for he was expected, and any more delay would lead to questions and soft concern where there should be none.

Pippin hoped there would be none, for all that his late hour of arriving could be blamed on a stop along the way for an extra luncheon, he could not hide the worries in his eyes for long. If he were asked, and he attempted to lie -- he would be found out and he would spill everything in his heart.

All he wanted was to crawl into his lover's arms, and his lover's bed, and pass the night with loving and laughing and sleep, and wake to a warm morn with more love, and private breakfast, and a facade of surprise on the family's faces when they saw him join them for second.

He hurried up the short path, and placed his hand on the door. One muffled knock, barely sound enough to carry through the wood, but the door was opened, and he found a delighted smile on the other side. He was swept into a kiss before he could say a word in greeting, after which no greeting was needed.