Memory

At night he lies in his bed, candles and lamps unlit, with his eyes open and seeing nothing in the blackness. His room is too well buried under the hill for windows to bring in the night sky, something he delighted in as a boy. Pippin knows his bedroom better than anyplace in Middle Earth; he could rise and dress and find everything by touch and memory alone without a single stumble.

He wishes he could change his room. Find one along the outer wall, or, better still, move into a house above ground just outside the Took family burrow. He is nearly old enough that he could do it without attracting undue attention. Only two more years and he'll come of age and can live anyplace he chooses.

Until then he is trapped in his bedroom from childhood. Filled with reminders of it -- toys and mathoms he once treasured. Any tween would still find joy in them, and sometimes, in the height of the day, Pippin still does as well.

But at night, when everything is dark and his eyes see nothing and his ears hear nothing, he lies in bed, face towards the ceiling, and he wishes. His bed is soft, and the night is silent, and it has been two years since they came home.

But the memory is still with him, and when he lies in the dark he can remember the feel of it. Two strong arms around him, a wide, long body behind him; comfort for a frightened young hobbit in the darkness of a mine. A friend who had noticed him shivering and pulled him close without a word, and Pippin had fallen asleep, warm and secure.

When he lies in his bed, he can remember it. His fingers trace stylised tree limbs, etched into his memory. Sometimes he cannot sleep at all, but when he does, he wakes up cold.