The next day the Fellowship had all gone their own ways as was usual. I had made the unfortunate mistake of sleeping too near to the hobbits. They had squirmed all night and as a result I didn’t get to sleep until late, nor did I get up until late.
By the time I finally did get up Pippin was the only one still around and he was talking quietly with Stacey on the other side of the pavilion.
I groggily sat up, "Where is everyone?" I asked.
Pippin was about to reply when Stacey interrupted, "You’re finally awake! Pippin wouldn’t let me wake you up. He’s no fun at all."
"Legolas told us we kept you up half the night." Pippin told me, "We’re very sorry. The others are all off somewhere, I am not sure where."
"That’s okay Pippin." I said, "Pippin." I mumbled again before slipping into my mind mulling over the word.
"Uh, Rachel, are you all right?" Pippin asked five minutes later, worried because I had only been sitting and staring into oblivion for a while now.
I snapped out of it, "Oh, hello Pippin!" I said, "I was just thinking. Do you have any idea what your nickname means?" I asked.
Pippin was startled, "No… I don’t even know what a ‘nickname’ is…"
"Oh come on, your nickname is ‘Pippin’, Meriadoc’s is ‘Merry’. You know what a nickname is!" I rolled my eyes.
Pippin laughed, "Oh, I thought you meant something else…"
"Yeah right." I wasn’t convinced, "Actually it has several different meanings. First is the meaning of a variety of apples, did you know you were named after apples?" I asked. Pippin shook his head, "I didn’t think so. Then there’s that cute little name Merry calls you, Pip. It really means the seed of a fruit, more specifically an apple seed." I informed him, "But then there’s one more definition of ‘Pippin’ which seems much more likely in your case. It also means a person admired… What someone would admire you for I’m not sure, do you have any idea?" I asked.
Pippin shrugged, "I can count to ten." He said, "One, two, three…. Four, five, six, um… Seven! Eight, nine, ten!"
I arched my eyebrows, "Yes, and I’m sure that is very nice. Remind me to teach you some real math sometime." I told him.
"Hey, I’ve got an idea!" Stacey exclaimed breaking up our conversation, "Let’s play a game!"
I looked at her warily, "What kind of game?"
"Let’s play truth or dare." Stacey said.
My eyes widened in horror, "No way! I hate that game! I’m not gonna play it, you can’t make me!" And with that I crossed my arms resolutely over my chest.
Stacey looked at Pippin, "Could you excuse us for a moment?" She asked. He nodded and walked off to the side politely then she leaned closer to me and whispered in my ear.
Pippin could see my eyes widen as my face paled, then turned red in fury. I was still angry when she pulled away, and looked like I was trying very hard to constrain myself from killing something.
Pippin looked at us warily, "Okay Pippin, you can come back over now!" Stacey called. Pippin complied, more than a little curious of what she had told me.
"So what is going on?" He asked.
"We’re going to teach you how to play truth or dare." Stacey declared.
I mumbled something and Stacey elbowed me, "Right, truth or dare." I said less than enthusiastically.
Stacey smiled, "Okay here’s how you play…" She began explaining the rules to Pippin.
When she had finished her explanation, and answered all of Pippin’s questions including everything from "Do we get prizes?" to "Does your horse bite?" omitting, however, the question of "Where do babies come from?"… By that question Pippin was laughing uncontrollably.
Merry walked up with Katy, "What is so funny?" He asked Pip who didn’t answer as I was trying to coax him into taking slow, deep breaths.
"We’re gonna play truth or dare!" Stacey told him, only to be followed by more grumbles from me. She ignored them and continued, "So you two want to play?" She asked.
"Yes" "No" Merry and Katy answered simultaneously.
"How did you convince Rachel to play?" Katy asked.
"Actually she was quite willing." Stacey told her.
Merry was taking a seat beside Pippin and I let go of him and pulled Katy down by the arm, "Come on, if I’m playing so are you." I told her.
Stacey decided not to explain the rules again as it had taken over a half an hour last time, and that Merry could just learn as we went along.
Since it was Stacey’s idea to play, she got to ask first.
"Rachel, truth or dare?" She asked.
"Truth." I said, looking for the nearest escape.
"Have you ever liked a boy?" She asked.
"Well, duh! It’s not like I’m weird or anything." I said sarcastically, embellishing as little as possible.
"Who?" She asked.
"Hey, only one question per turn!" I exclaimed, and without waiting for her to object continued, "Merry truth or dare?" I asked.
"Um… What do they mean?" He asked.
I rolled my eyes, "It’s a simple concept, choose truth and I ask you a question you have to reply truthfully to, choose dare and you have to complete a dare I give to you." I told him.
"Okay, how about dare?" Merry asked.
"Is that your choice or a question?" I asked.
"Dare. That’s my choice." Merry stated.
"Okay… Um… Swing off that talon on a vine or rope or something while yelling." I told him, pointing to a nearby talon.
Merry smiled, "Okay. After I do this I get to dare someone, right?" He asked.
"If they choose dare, yes." I told him.
He climbed up to the talon, it wasn’t very high at all which is a good thing since hobbits feel a bit uncomfortable on heights. He found a rope and tied it to a branch above his head.
Merry rubbed his hands in anticipation and tugged on the rope ensuring that it was tight. He looked around carefully pinpointing only two elves in the nearby vicinity and jumped.
He swung all the way to the ground yelling, looking very much like a mini-Tarzan. All of us were cracking up laughing by the time he came back over to us, laughing as well.
"Well, Pip. I certainly gave those folks a show, did I not?" He asked.
"You sure did!" Pippin laughed.
"Okay it’s my turn now." Merry declared, "Um… Katy, truth or dare?" He asked.
Katy fidgeted nervously, "Um… Truth." She decided.
"Okay… So now I ask her a question, right?" He asked me, I nodded.
"Um…" Merry was having a hard time thinking of anything so I whispered into his ear. Merry smiled, "How much wood could a…" I whispered again, "Oh yeah. How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?" He asked, feeling very proud of himself for remembering the whole thing.
Katy smiled glad it hadn’t been personal, "A woodchuck would chuck just as much wood as a woodchuck could chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood!" She said, giving the normal answer anyone who knew the rhyme would say.
"Hey, that’s a good one!" Pippin exclaimed, mulling over the phrases in his head.
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