Fic: After Breredon (The Way She Sees It Remix) (for [ profile] rubynye)

Aug. 1st, 2007 03:57 pm
[identity profile] posting in [community profile] a_conspiracy
Title: After Breredon (The Way She Sees It Remix)
Author: [ profile] danachan
Characters/Pairings: Pippin, Hawthorn (OFC)
Summary: Pippin has kisses to give. Hawthorn has a story to tell.
Rating: PG
Warnings: Het, not without angst
Word Count: 2225
Disclaimer: All recognizable characters are the property of the Estate of J.R.R. Tolkien. No offense is intended, nor profit made.
Title, Author and URL of original story: Breredon, by [ profile] rubynye.

After Breredon (The Way She Sees It Remix)

His smile reminded her of another's, and so she smiled in return. His name was Peregrin Took – the Thain's own son – but mostly the hobbits of Budgeford called him Captain Peregrin, for his part at the Battle of Bywater and the ousting of the Ruffians. Master Freddy, come back from the Lockholes and perhaps a shadow of who he might have been before, called him Pippin only, for Hawthorn knew them to be cousins and close friends.

Hawthorn called him Captain Pippin, even though he had insisted that she need only call him Pippin, too – but she couldn't think to speak so bold as such, and to one such as him. And he would insist, again, that she needn't, and so, to see his smile, she called him Pippin, just Pippin, and just as he had asked.

Well, she could think bold, if needed. Hawthorn put her hand in Pippin's, and smiled at him, but didn't tell him her name. Then they went out to dance, and the spring air was bright and warm and Pippin was warm and bright, too, and Hawthorn thought they needn't ever stop their dance.

He was tall and fair and there was light in his eyes, and she had heard some stories of him, of him and Captain Merry, and them having gone away, to lands afar – they danced a number of sets, she and Pippin, and when they were laughing, a bit winded, after one particularly rousing number, they stopped, and she looked him in the eyes. Then, thinking herself bold enough for this, if she was bold enough for anything, she felt her eyes fall shut as she pushed up on her toes and she kissed him, soft as spring itself, and twined her hand with his.

Her heart gave a little pang, and tears burned briefly at the corners of her eyes, but she would not weep. He was bright and fair and he reminded her in no small way of Mr. Davy, though he hadn't been so tall. She remembered best his laugh, and his smile.

She put that away, as she had come to do when needed, shut it away and hoped it would not break free. She led Pippin away, and he smiled at her as she did, and she smiled back at him, and they found them a nice place to sit, out of the way, in cool green shade, and Pippin kissed her as they settled to the ground. She laughed against his mouth, and they did a good deal more kissing, after that. She felt her heart give a shudder, as if the box her memories were put away had strained, as if her heart itself strove to break free. But she held herself in one piece, and Pippin held her hand, and kisses made better distractions than her own worrisome thoughts.

"You haven't yet told me your name," he said, with a cheery smile, and Hawthorn laughed and blushed and told him her name, and he grinned and kissed her again, butter-warm, smooth.

He had a pleasant voice, and he liked to laugh, pressing kisses on her neck and giving her reasons to giggle and squirm. He told her he had in fact gone afar, and if she ever wished to hear of Minas Tirith, well, he'd not mind telling her all she could. She thought the world Beyond too big for herself, so she tucked her head against his, laughed, and he must have been touched, for he smiled, ruffled her hair, tipped up her chin, and gave her another kiss.

It was warm and languid, much as the afternoon was, as well. They twisted about and resettled themselves, and he tucked his arm about her waist. Another kiss pressed, and he breathed out against her hair, hands warm and his breath warm, too, and Hawthorn warm all over. "So how," he said, against her hair, "did such a lovely lass come to grace hoary old Budgeford? I know you weren't here when I last turned by Bolger Hall."

She gave him no answer, though she giggled when he nibbled at her ear (perhaps he did not wish her to answer, then). But he pressed, and with such charm, saying, "Oh, you must tell me," and he almost pled. His breath was hot now, and it made her shiver, against her neck. He gave her another squeeze, pleasantly, and she would have laughed, but for the tears that came to her eyes – again, she dashed them away. "I can't rest till I know where such a pretty hobbit hails from."

She blinked her tears away – she told herself again, she would not weep – and Pippin leaned forward, and Hawthorn sat still, felt his arms about him, but felt as well the world as it fell, fell, fell away.

The night was dark and cold, and the moon rode high (no, that couldn't be right, for it was spring, and bright, and all dark cold was put behind them), and Hawthorn woke to screaming. She rolled from bed, stumbled from it, through open the drapes and then the shutters, and thought she might scream. The lick of flames against the dark of the sky, far-off shrieks, the honking of the geese. The door was knocked open, and Hyacinth took her arm. Hyacinth, pale and shaking, pressed hard with her fingers, told her to put on her dressing gown. Hawthorn opened her mouth to answer, but she coughed as the wind gusted, as the flames struck higher into the sky. Another scream, and Hawthorn pulled on her dressing gown, and Hyacinth held her hand, and they went out, from Hawthorn's room, down the old hallway, smoke in the air, shrieking, too.

("Hawthorn?", as if from far away.)

Smoke and burning, yelling, screaming. So much smoke, she thought she might swoon, and she went at a stumble, Hyacinth leading the way, for tears had blinded her, falling from her eyes. "Hyacinth," she said, coughed, and her sister looked at her, told her to hurry, they had to hurry – and she pushed her outside, where she stood trembling in the dark, before she turned, and went inside. She was not alone, for the Elvet Isle too was aflame, and the houses all about them, and there were running, panicked hobbits, all over, some running out into the river to get away from the flames.

She did not see her mother, or her father, or her younger sister. She was stumbling still, towards the water, but then a big hand caught her, and Hawthorn gave a terrified scream, then coughed, and coughed harder, as she was dragged backwards, across the ground.

Hawthorn was startled to the present, beneath the crush of overwhelming memories, not by her own will nor Pippin's voice, but instead at finding those thoughts too painful to bear. She felt his arms, still, loose but near, felt the warmth of his breath. "Where I'm from, Captain Pippin?" She might have screamed that, but it came out a whisper, torn free from her throat.

He did not protest it, this time, her calling him by title: and he might have fallen away, as the world had, and Hawthorn walked a moment in cold nigh-time, tight hands like a band about her wrists. "A little place called Breredon," she said, "between the Withywindle and the High Hay." She paused, and shuddered out her breath. She saw her sister's face, her eyes round and frightened, and knew her sister dead, her mother gone, too. She might have shuddered again, or instead she might have choked on her breath. She could not tell – perhaps, instead, she'd sat stone still.

"I know of it," she heard Pippin's voice, again, as if from very far away. "Where the Withywindle joins the Brandywine."

Hawthorn nodded, hardly aware of her own shuddering breath. She squeezed her eyes shut round tears, and could not make herself think – had they killed her sister, or had the fire taken her, instead? She swallowed, wishing to make this pain easier to bear. But she could not, and she shuddered once more, and tears leaked out, though she had thought her eyes shut tight. Well, she held them shut more tightly, and gave them no room: and them like dreams themselves, and perhaps they would dry up, and act as if they'd never been.

She put her hand on his arm, needing that, to know he would not fall away, that she would not, either. There was darkness behind her eyes, and her eyes were aching, sore. And she said, "So it was, tucked away out of notice, or so we thought." She almost gave a little laugh. "Mr. Davy Chubb-Took came to us for a time, bringing his gallant rebel lads and his grand cheer, bringing us all hope; for our part we gave them lodging and aid and praise, and my elder sister gave Mr. Davy her heart." She shook on the inside, her heart fit to bleeding. Oh, Hyacinth. If she let herself sob, then her tears would not end. "Then the Men hunted out Mr. Davy's band, and in the night they..." She felt herself, again, waking to darkness, screams, and flame. "... Burned Breredon and the Elvet Isle."

She saw it all, the homes all burning, the front of the older smials all wreathed in flame, hobbits running for the water, fire on wings. She heard screaming, and that might have been her own, or Hyacinth's, Hyacinth's... She couldn't run, for there was no where to run, and she was caught now, and a laughing voice said, "ungrateful rat," and Hawthorn wept harder.

But that was a world away. She felt herself, felt her heart breaking, and all its secrets falling free, aching more for that freedom. She remembered her bruised wrist, her sister's going back into the house, Hawthorn stumbling as if in a dream, her sister, dead, her mother dead, too, and flames leaping in the night. "Those of us as made it out, the Men dragged up out of the stream to rope together and marched us off, heading for the Lockholes." She remembered it, the long walk, pulled along at a march, the Men telling them as how they had been found, for when Mr. Davy and his lads had been caught, when they'd asked after his base, one of them had broken, one of them had told. She shook that away, and went on, her voice shaking, as she said, "Two days after, though, a Quick Post messenger brought them word of some mischief as wouldn't wait, so dashing off they left us by the Budge Ford Bridge, and the Master and Mistress Bolger and the folk of Budgeford took us in."

She thought she might break. She shook, hard, and Pippin held her, tightly, but she did not weep: she could not, for she had wept already, and it would not bring back Breredon, or those who had been lost. She breathed out her distress, and gathered her breath once more.

Then, she was still, and she could speak. She thought she might have smiled, smiled at her hands and her feet, even, though she could not tell. Still, when she spoke, it was more than half a sob. "So I came here, Master Pippin, and I've gone on too long already." And she turned, and looked at him, and her eyes were wet again and Pippin's face was blank despair, but Hawthorn somehow managed to smile.

Blank despair, but then he smiled, and Hawthorn was not such a fool as to think it real and true. He played his part well, though, did Captain Pippin, his smile so bright and wide, and his voice so full of cheer, saying, "ah, fair one, I'm simply simple Pippin." She let herself smile, again, and better, at those words. He was something to hold to, at least in this moment. It was strange, though, in thinking it, for she felt better, for having had someone listen to her, for she had so needed to unburden her heart.

She didn't speak, but leaned towards him, and closed her eyes: and he cupped her face in one hand and he kissed her closed eyes.

She almost pulled back – she giggled, and looked at him, and might have laughed louder. Instead, she leaned forward, once more, and tried to kiss him on the mouth. But he was grinning, full and bright, and he ducked away – she almost laughed again – and set to kissing her tears away, instead, her cheeks and nose and chin.

How bright he was, and fair, and his smile seemed real now, and she felt a lightening in the air. It was easier to laugh, and to catch his kisses, and give kisses of her own. She had grown cold, cold and brittle, but she felt herself warm again, under Pippin's kisses, and in the warmth of this bright new spring. At least, she was warming to it. She relaxed in his arms, though still he held her close. He opened his mouth, then, as though he might say something – she herself had spoken more than enough, and did not wish to think on further conversation. She startled him, and threw her arms about his neck, and kissed him with all that she could.
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