Kindred Spirits by Cathleen

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Kindred Spirits 

Pippin crept away from the slumbering members of the Company and carefully made his way down to the stream where he spied Boromir standing the watch. Unable to sleep, he thought he would enjoy some companionship for a time and perhaps coax another entertaining tale from Boromir. He approached the Gondorian stealthily and was about to amuse himself by surprising him with his unexpected presence when the man spoke quietly without turning.

“Not sleepy yet Pippin?” 

Pippin stepped back, his mouth falling open. Boromir craned his neck to grin at the startled youth and beckoned to him. Pippin moved closer to stand at his side. Boromir placed a finger to his lips urging him to make no sound. Bending down he placed an arm around the small shoulders and pointed. Squinting into the bushes Pippin spied a tiny sparrow perched on a low branch. He smiled up at his friend. Boromir settled himself at the water's edge while continuing to watch the busy little creature seeking food. Pippin eagerly joined him. 

At last, Boromir spoke. “Do you like birds Pippin?”

“Oh yes, I like all sorts of wee creatures! Often I have sat just like this, watching a mother bird build a nest or a field mouse burrowing into the grass to make a new home.” Pippin grinned. “Back home I have a dog, his name is Dizzy, and a cat named Lily. I call her Lily because she’s as pure white as the flower, as well as the snow that sometimes falls on the Shire in the winter.” He frowned.  “I do hope they are being taken good care of. Seeing as I’m not there to do it.”

Boromir chuckled. “I am certain they are Pippin.”

“Aye, I suppose my sisters are looking after them. My mum too.”

“Hmm, and I imagine you’ve often brought home strays you’ve come upon in your travels, yes? No doubt causing your parents a great deal of anguish when they had to tell you that you could not keep every creature that followed you home?”

Pippin grinned widely, his eyes sparkling with mischief. “I never would have guessed you knew me so well! You’re quite right of course. Many is the time I’ve been told to take that wild thing back to where I found it and let it go.”

Boromir nodded. “Your heart breaking all the way.”

“Yes.” Pippin tilted his head back and studied the man’s face. “And you know exactly what it felt like? Because you did the same thing.”

“Ah, I did not realise you knew me so well, young sir,” Boromir quirked his mouth upward in a slight smile.

“It would seem we already know one another fairly well despite having met only a short while ago.”

“Have you ever heard of kindred spirits, Pippin?”

Pippin considered. “I know what kin is, of course. Do you mean to say people who are close in some way?”

Boromir nodded. “People who are drawn together, who have many things in common.”

“Are we kindred spirits Boromir? You and I?”

The man smiled fondly at his companion. “I believe we have many things in common.”

Pippin tilted his head, thinking over what Boromir had said. “Indeed? I was under the impression that we are different in more ways than we are the same. But then. . .” Pippin gave this notion more thought, “We do seem to enjoy many of the same things. The birds, for instance.” Pippin gestured towards the bushes.

“People are often drawn together in friendship because of their similarities.”

Pippin nodded.

“Tell me about your home, Pippin. About the Shire, and its people. And your family.”

“You would really like to know more?” Pippin hesitated. “We are not nearly as grand in our appearance and our lives as folks must be in your homeland.” Pippin drew his legs up to his chin and hugged them. Rocking slightly back and forth, he thought about how to answer. “We are just plain folk as far as I know how to explain it. We live close to the land and what grows upon it. My father farmed the land around Whitwell, that’s the place where I grew up. That is, until we had to move to the Great Smials before he became the Thain.” Pippin frowned. “That was a difficult time for me.”

“It was?”

“Yes, after living on a farm I found life to be quite different amongst all the many relatives there. I missed the freedom, I suppose, and my former home.”

“What exactly are ‘The Great Smials’?”

“Our ancestral home. The Took’s that is. ‘Tis located in the Green Hills of the West Farthing of the Shire. It is the traditional home of the Thain.”

“And what is the Thain? I take it to be some sort of formal title?”

“It is.”

“Ah, similar to being a steward? Or a king?”

Pippin scratched his head. “Well yes, very similar I suppose. I hadn’t thought of it that way. Although I don’t believe the Thain holds as much power as a king. He’s mostly in charge of overseeing any events of great importance, or emergencies. Not that there’s ever a great deal of that in the Shire. At least, there never has been.”

Boromir pondered. “So, if your father is the Thain that means you will one day assume the title?”

“Yes. But truth be told Boromir, I can’t picture myself in that role. Not now at least.”

“That is understandable, Pippin. I recall when I was younger being quite unable to fathom myself becoming the Steward of Gondor one day.” He smiled at the tween. “It will take some getting accustomed to, for both of us, yes?”

Pippin nodded.

A hush fell upon the pair as they considered what the future might hold. The busy little sparrow circled their heads on her return to the nest and her mate. Pippin gestured at them. “And like the wee bird there, we are very close to our kin. Family is extremely important to us. Although, being the youngest and the only lad with three older sisters does have its challenges!”

Boromir laughed. “That is something I would not know about as I am the eldest.”

“My sister Pearl is the eldest in my family. She’s terribly bossy. Although, not as bad as my youngest sister, Pervinca. She’s always ordering me about and trying to get me into trouble.”

“Indeed? She must have her work cut out for her then.”

“Hmm, I know when my leg is being pulled Boromir.” Pippin grinned. “My middle sister is always on my side, though. That’s Pimpernel but we call her Nell. At least, she sides with me most of the time.” Pippin considered. “Ah, depending on what I might have done to cause mischief,” he said finally, his cheeks colouring slightly.

“That sounds like the way it always was between my brother and I.”

“Yes ‘tis a great comfort to have someone who is always on your side.”

“That is very true Pippin.”

"The Shire is a beautiful place! Green grass and softly rolling hills. There are streams to play in and to catch fish – trout and catfish are my favourites. We also like to dance and sing, and many are the evenings we’ve whiled away at the Green Dragon!”

“The Green Dragon?”

“Aye, that’s a lovely little Inn where folks like to gather and talk about the day’s happenings. Also to enjoy a pint and a song or two, perhaps share some scandalous information.”

“That does sound enjoyable.”

“Oh, it is. Especially when certain folks are about, particularly the old ones because you just know you’re going to hear a fair tale or two about the bygone days. Sam’s father, we call him the Gaffer, he’s a splendid storyteller, and there are many other folks who can spin a good yarn as well. And one of the lasses who works there. . .” Pippin leaned closer and whispered conspiratorially, “Sam’s taken with her, although truth be told, he’s yet to get up the courage to tell her so.” Pippin grinned wickedly and winked.

Boromir laughed aloud.

“Will you not tell me another of your stories now? I thought the tale of the tortoiseshell kitty was magnificent. That is, in spite of it being a great deal of fanciful make-believe. But I did note some fine humour in it. What do you say Boromir?”

The man chuckled again.  “Oh, I dare say I may indeed have another tale or two up my sleeve.” Boromir leaned back and Pippin happily settled in beside him, waiting expectantly.

“Hmm, well you have heard me speak of my younger brother.”

“Faramir.  He liked the tale of Hithfaer as well.” *

“Yes, it was a favourite of his. I told him many stories over time, tales to sooth a sleepless night, or to simply entertain him.” Boromir chuckled. “I have a dread of snakes, Pippin. I know it is not based on reason it simply is so. My brother knew all about this and exploited my fear every chance he got.”

“Did he put a snake in your bed, Boromir?” Pippin asked with a grin.

Boromir raised an eyebrow in mock sternness. “It sounds as if this is a prank you are already familiar with.” He shook his head at the eager youth. “It was not a single snake he placed in my bed.” Boromir winced at the memory. “Faramir filled my bedchamber with snakes of every description! You may imagine my chagrin when I opened the door that night and a horde of the nasty creatures came slithering out, making their way around my feet--”

“What?” Pippin collapsed in a fit of laughter. “Oh no,” he groaned. “Why, the lad should have been very proud of himself! What a marvelous prank!”

Boromir snorted. “Without a doubt he was. He put a great deal of effort into collecting all those snakes.  It took him days. It was with great trepidation that I approached my bed that night.”

”Ah, but a good prank is worth almost as much as a good meal! Any tween will tell you that. We lay great store by them. But tell me, then what happened?”

“I made him clear my room of every single snake. It took him hours to catch them and then I made him search the room again just to make certain he had found them all.” Boromir grinned. “The next morning it was all I could do to restrain myself from scolding him all over again.”

“Why is that?”  

“Because there were still snakes in my room!” Boromir shook his head in disgust at the recollection. “Against my better judgment I actually tried laying down that night though I was certain I wouldn’t get a moment’s sleep. However, I did drift off and awoke to find three of the vile things in the bed with me. I do not think I slept in my own room for a year or more after that.” Boromir stretched his legs out in front of him with a sigh.  “As fate would have it I was about to leave for a lengthy training in the field with the rest of my Company. I was not due to return home for at least three months.”

“I wonder if that’s why he did it?”

“What?” Boromir turned to look at Pippin. “What do you mean?”

“If you were about to leave he probably wanted to get your attention. He was thinking about how much he would miss you, I imagine.”

Boromir placed both hands behind his head and leaned back, thinking this over. “Perhaps you are right. I had never considered that possibility before.” 

They sat in silence for a time, each of them lost in his own thoughts. Finally, Boromir spoke. “I believe you should get some rest now. It is almost time for my relief and I shall do the same.”

Pippin opened his mouth to reply when a disgruntled “Hmph” directly behind them startled them both. Turning, they saw Gandalf, an exaggerated frown on his face, looking them up and down.

“Yes, I should think it is about time you got some rest. I will take up the watch. Go now, and pleasant dreams to you both.” He dismissed them with a wave of his hand.

Boromir chuckled and rose.

“Almost like being at home, it is,” Pippin muttered, following.

Boromir tilted his head in question.

Pippin pointed over his shoulder at the sharp-eyed wizard. “Gandalf sounded just like my mum.”

The man laughed heartily and leaned down to whisper in the hobbit’s ear. “Mine too!”

 

 

Author's Note:

* Hithfaer is a character first seen in my story "A Cat of a Different Colour" and "Perchance to Dream"

 

 

 

 

 

 




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