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Room for Adventure  by cathleen

Thank you Dreamflower for the Beta, as well as character names , and Pearl Took for reading and making suggestions!

“A Long-Ago Adventure”

Pippin gave the door a nudge with his foot and watched as it swung back slowly with a creak and a sigh. Air whooshed from the room, hot and musty, and dust motes tickled his nose. Not for the first time, he crept inside, pausing to eye the great desk. The book lay open, exactly as before, the grimy smudges on the yellowed page the only evidence of his earlier intrusion. Pippin hesitated for only a moment before carefully scooping the volume into his arms. Settling on the couch, he turned the pages one by one, squinting at the faded ink, the antiquated handwriting taking some effort to interpret. Sweat trickled from his brow as he read, and he brushed at his face absent-mindedly with a grimy sleeve. A soft breeze from the open door caressed his cheek and Pippin sat back, eager to enter that long-ago world.*

*More Room for Adventure


22 September

Mother says I should practice my penmanship by composing a page every day, so here I am again. Ho-hum, I’d much rather be outside running about with Belle, throwing a stick for her to fetch, than sitting here, confined to my room until my lessons are finished. I suppose it really is my own fault, as Mother said, because if I hadn’t neglected the task yesterday, I wouldn’t have twice as much work to do today! Oh well. Two whole pages will go quickly enough if only I can think of something to say. What does one write about when one is all alone and wishing for something exciting to happen? Shall I write about what I think it will be like to be the Took and Thain someday? At the moment the prospect seems dreadfully tedious to me. I think Father mostly reads and signs papers all the daylong. At least, I haven’t seen him do much else. Why, if it weren’t for the trips into the villages then I think the life of a Thain would be dull indeed!

Pippin chuckled as he turned to the next page. “I’ve often thought the same thing,” he told Lily. Lily didn’t bother replying. Instead she raised her right paw and washed over her ear. Pippin turned his attention back to the book and laughed aloud as he read.

Father shook his head when I told him this once, and said I have a great deal to learn. I suppose I do, but I find it terribly hard to imagine such a far off day. I am barely eighteen years old and it feels like growing up takes a long time. Father always laughs when say I that, and then gives me a smile and a pat on the head. I would never tell him this, but at those times I feel more like Belle probably does when I give her a fresh soup bone to gnaw.

There are so many things I long to understand! How does the Sun know when it’s time for the moon to rise, and time for her to close her golden eyes? How does the cream know when it is time to turn to butter in the churn? Why is the sky blue instead of green? Is it possible to learn to breathe under water? If a fish can do so, why can’t I?

Pippin sucked in a breath of surprise. “I’ve wondered about the cream, too, and I still don’t understand how that part of the churning works!” Pippin stared down at the elegant script, thinking hard. “Just how does a fish manage breathing under the water? Once when I tried that I found it to be quite a dreadful experience, and then Merry scolded me soundly for not holding my breath.” He glanced at Lily. She was still grooming herself, seemingly unconcerned about the answers to the questions Pippin pondered.

Most of my questions go unanswered, and sometimes my sisters laugh when I ask them something I think is important. I am quite serious about receiving an answer, but it is obvious they look upon me with indulgence, or worse, with an eye towards being entertained. Pandora says I talk too much, and Prima says I ask far too many questions. I don’t agree with them, but I think the rest of my family does. Why did I have to be born last? Ah, that’s another good question.

“Sisters! I feel sorry for this lad. Why, they sound just like Pearl, and Nell, and Vinca!” Pippin’s eyelids began to droop and he stifled a yawn, squinting at the faded page in the dimming light. He’d been reading for a long time, unable to put down the journal, but now he struggled to stay awake. Blinking his eyes firmly to wake himself up, he turned the page and continued.

On the other hand, being the youngest does have its advantages. It’s far easier to sway my mother to allow me an extra ginger biscuit or two, than it ever has been for my sisters. At least, that’s what they tell me. And I get to stay up later than they did. Perhaps our parents have decided not to make the same errors with their youngest as they may have with the older children? But it does seem reasonable to me, now that I think about it. Otherwise, why have so many of the rules changed?

Pippin found himself nodding in agreement. His head drooped lower and he held the book closer to his eyes.

Oh! I almost forgot to mention the exciting tale I heard just this morning as I was listening from beneath the table in the dining room. I’d been looking for my best shooter marble, the one I lost when Pamphila chased me around the table yesterday, accusing me of taking her best hair ribbon. Anyway, Pandora rushed in, all out of breath and pulled Prima into a corner and began telling her all about a map she’d found in one of the old rooms far back in the Smials. Pandora must have said something very interesting because all of a sudden Prima got dreadfully excited and shouted ‘Do you really mean it?’ and I admit I strained my ears to hear more after that, but Pandora was very eager to hush her up. . .

“A map, Lily! I wonder where exactly they found it?” Pippin stifled another yawn. “I wish I knew where it was now. . .”

Outside the dust-stained windows the sun began its slow descent; behind the rain clouds that had gathered steadily throughout the afternoon, shadows grew and lengthened. Soft rumbles of thunder began, like music from a child’s toy drum. Occasionally a flash of light filtered into the room where a young hobbit lay curled on a couch, an old book his makeshift pillow, and a longhaired white cat for a coverlet.

Pippin was deep in his dream and did not hear the thunder. The lightning held no fear, for his mind was elsewhere, far away from the dusty room. The purring soothed him, and he snuggled deeper into the warmth. Lily stirred with a chirp, and gave a luxurious stretch of both legs before resettling herself on Pippin’s shoulder.

A creased paper slipped from the back of the book and floated to the floor, coming to a rest underneath the corner of the couch. It went unnoticed as the two companions filled the room with gentle snores.










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