Sleepless in Minas Tirith

by Nefertiti

Disclaimer: These characters do not belong to me, and the text below is offered without any expectation of remuneration, strictly for the enjoyment of fans.

Author's note: Thanks to Sam for providing the challenge on Library of Moria. Book-based. This story fits into the plotline of the novel, taking place mostly right after the end of Chapter I of Return of the King and extending a bit into the beginning of Chapter IV. It is set in a guest room in Minas Tirith in the wee hours of March 10, 3019, The Third Age ("The Dawnless Day"). The brief opening section comes directly from the novel, as do a few sentences that open the morning scene (in italics).

In the night Pippin was wakened by a light, and he saw that Gandalf had come and was pacing to and fro in the room beyond the curtain of the alcove. There were candles on the table and rolls of parchment. He heard the wizard sigh, and mutter, "When will Faramir return?"

"Hullo!" said Pippin, poking his head round the curtain. "I thought you had forgotten all about me. I am glad to see you back. It has been a long day."

"But the night will be too short," said Gandalf. "I have come back here, for I must have a little peace, alone. You should sleep, in a bed while you still may. At the sunrise I shall take you to the Lord Denethor again. No, when the summons comes, not at sunrise. The Darkness has begun. There will be no dawn."

Pippin hesitated. "But what about you, Gandalf? Aren't you going to sleep at all?"

"Perhaps later, but tonight I seem unable even to sit still. We are come to the decisive days, and yet there is absolutely nothing I can do ... except listen to Denethor's obstructionist opinions in interminable councils. Until Sauron launches his attack, I can learn little more about his strategies. The waiting is the worst part, I find, especially at night. It reminds me of my time as a prisoner at Orthanc. I have not found myself pacing at night since then-but perhaps pacing requires a hard floor and enforced leisure, a combination I have seldom experienced," he added with a little smile. He resumed walking aimlessly around the room.

Pippin moved back into the alcove and closed the curtains, but he realized he could not go to sleep himself, lying there aware of Gandalf's anxiety and restlessness.

He also felt a little hurt. Gandalf seemed to dismiss him, sending him back to bed like a child when all day he had looked forward to seeing the old wizard again. Pippin had begun to believe that Gandalf was opening up to him: those wonderful long stretches of the ride to Minas Tirith when Gandalf seemed to be thinking out loud, almost forgetting the hobbit's presence. The wizard had told him so many wonderful things. For the first time, he had deeply felt the fascination of the vast continent of Middle-earth and its history. He had also come to sense that Gandalf was far more than a wise and courageous wizard.

Even after they had arrived in Minas Tirith and had their first audience with Denethor, Gandalf had seemed so friendly, standing with Pippin at the window of their new lodgings, his arm casually draped over the hobbit's shoulders as they talked. He even seemed to trust Pippin a bit. What a pleasant shock it had been when right after that Gandalf actually said, "Pippin, do me a favor," and in such an offhand way--as if it were not a momentous event, the first moment when Gandalf seemed to think Pippin fit for anything but making mischief and being a burden on the Fellowship. The favor was only to check on his horse, but then, Shadowfax was a very special horse. Pippin had had to draw his sleeve across his eyes after Gandalf went out, so moved was he by this slight request. But now Gandalf was preoccupied, holding Pippin at a distance and obviously disinclined to chat with his companion. Perhaps before, when it had been only the two of them riding for days on end, Gandalf had talked to him for lack of anyone else. Now that the wizard was back in the company of great lords, holding councils and concocting important plans, he apparently had little concern left for Pippin.

Pippin had been standing holding the curtains after he closed them, and now he turned back toward his bed. If only he could at least do something to help Gandalf, to ease his anxiety. Then a thought came into his mind unbidden, and he flushed beet red and began to breathe deeply as his heart beat wildly. Perhaps-perhaps if he could do with Gandalf what he and Merry and some of his friends had done together so lightheartedly in the fields and woods of the Shire ... He tried to dismiss the idea, for surely Gandalf did not indulge in such behavior.

Or did he? Pippin took a faltering step toward the bed and stopped again. A sudden vision of Gandalf's hands clutching his head, moaning as the hobbit slid his tongue over the wizard's hard cock, made him feel almost faint, and suddenly he realized that he very much wanted it really to happen. He could distract Gandalf from his worries, and perhaps-perhaps the wizard would even ... His own cock was stirring in his trousers, which he had hastily pulled on when he realized Gandalf had returned. No, the main thing was to help Gandalf, he told himself-if the old wizard would even consider such a thing. It seemed far more likely that Gandalf would react with annoyance or make a sarcastic remark dismissing him or just laugh at the hobbit's offer. "You idiot!" he almost said aloud to himself. But daunting as the prospect of being rebuffed was, his mind kept returning to that first vivid image.

Finally, balanced between trepidation and desire, Pippin took a deep breath and forced himself to part the curtains again and step quickly into the larger room outside, before his fear of rejection could hold him back. Gandalf was still pacing slowly, but he stopped and looked at the hobbit with little welcome in his face: "I told you, Pippin, it would be best for you to sleep."

"I can't," replied Pippin. "I'm as worried as you are, though I don't know as much about what is likely to happen."

The wizard's careworn face crinkled briefly into a smile. "Well, there is plenty of room for two to pace. Join me if you wish," and he resumed his measured circuit of the table in the middle of the room. Pippin could not think of a reply, so he walked about for a while, watching Gandalf out of the corners of his eyes. Gandalf took no notice of him but kept his gaze cast downward, pausing occasionally to stare abstractedly before once more moving slowly around the room. Despite his slow gait, Pippin noticed that the wizard's fingers were ceaselessly moving, drummed gently on the sides of his thighs, sliding along the edge of the table as he passed it, or running through his white mane of hair.

Despite the fact that Gandalf seemed as unconcerned with him as before, Pippin could not force himself to stop thinking of how he could like to draw the wizard into one of the alcoves and down onto the bed, to kiss him and explore beneath his clothes, to take out . .. He gave a little gasp, and Gandalf looked at him with concern. "Are you THAT frightened, my lad? Here, let us sit beside each other for a while." He moved to the long wooden bench beneath the triple window and sat down at one end, patting the place beside him. Pippin's heart gave a jump, and he climbed up onto the bench, sitting as close to Gandalf as he dared, with his shoulder just brushing the white sleeve on Gandalf's right arm. The wizard rested his left elbow on the arm of the bench and leaned his cheek on his fist, staring sadly at the floor. Pippin felt at a loss. Gandalf might be repelled by what he had in mind. Probably he would be. Besides, the wizard might be pondering some important stratagem or wrapped in deep and personal reflections. He sighed and shifted, his left arm brushing against Gandalf.

Gandalf glanced at him and said, "The danger is undoubtedly great, but you should try not to think about it. Whatever threat approaches, it will be hours before it reaches us here." Pippin stared up solemnly at him, thinking that Gandalf was not very good at taking his own advice. The wizard smiled briefly and slipped his arm around the hobbit's shoulders before returning to his moody contemplation of the flagstones. The friendly gesture calmed Pippin's fear somewhat. He tried not to let his quick breathing become noticeable to Gandalf. Yet was not that just what he wanted-for Gandalf to notice his desire? He wasn't sure. He was strongly tempted to thank the wizard for his comforting words and return to his bed, alone.

At last, summoning up all his courage, he decided to make one more effort without, he hoped, doing anything that would shock Gandalf if it failed. He cuddled against the wizard's right side, squirming and glancing up pleadingly at him. Perhaps Gandalf would again mistake this for simple fear ... but his heart skipped a beat as his companion turned to look inquiringly down into his upturned face. Gandalf frowned slightly with those great snowy brows of his and his eyes scanned Pippin's face intently.

Pippin realized that they might be on the brink of coming together in great mutual need, and he threw caution to the winds. He simply could not let Gandalf withdraw again into his thoughts. He let his panting become audible, and his eyes begged even harder for a sign of recognition and answering desire. Gandalf's frown abruptly disappeared and his eyes widened in utter surprise. Quickly he looked away, and Pippin saw the tendons in his cheeks working as he clenched his teeth and stared at the floor--but now he seemed to be struggling to make a difficult decision. Encouraged by Gandalf's failure to reject him out of hand and realizing that it was too late to turn back now, Pippin gave a tiny moan of desire and turned his head, leaning over to kiss the only unclothed part of Gandalf that he could reach, the side of his neck. Gently he moved his lips upward until, by shifting slightly, he could just draw the wizard's earlobe into his mouth. He heard Gandalf gasp-whether from pleasure or disgust he could not tell-but it was too late to draw back now. Gandalf's arm was still around him, and the hand tightened suddenly on his shoulder. Pippin remembered how Merry's tongue in his ear had usually been enough to give him a nearly instant erection-in that carefree world that now seemed so remote. He could not see the wizard's reaction, but he licked and sucked, hoping that Gandalf's ears were as sensitive as his own. Gently he released the earlobe and stretched up as far as he could to swirl his tongue wetly in the delicate whorls of Gandalf's ear. The hobbit was rewarded with a soft moan of pleasure, and he sent a gasp of relief into the wizard's ear.

Gandalf closed his eyes and leaned his head back until it rested on the edge of the stone sill above the bench. Pippin struggled to his knees and kissed and tongued the wizard's neck and cheek until finally Gandalf turned his face to Pippin's. Their lips brushed gently against each other, lingering deliciously over this quiet moment before their passion flared out of control. Finally Pippin ran the tip of his tongue over Gandalf's lips, which parted to draw it deep inside, sucking at it hungrily until it was Pippin's turn to moan with arousal. Gandalf suddenly withdrew his mouth, and Pippin felt his warm, wet lips eagerly moving over his throat. His original thought had been simply to suck Gandalf's cock to a climax as quickly as possible, but now he was swept away by the wizard's eager response and obvious intention to give as well as take pleasure. The wizard began to hum with excitement, pushing Pippin's soft, loose shirt away from his body and down his arms until it dropped to the floor. Gently Gandalf brushed his fingertips over the tiny pink mounds of Pippin's nipples, watching the hobbit's face as the caresses elicited a whimper of bliss and Pippin's mouth fell slack. Gandalf continued to rub one nipple as he bent to suck the other. He lowered one hand to pull loose the laces at Pippin's trouser front, which the hobbit had fastened hastily when he had gotten out of bed. As the trouser front gaped open, Gandalf slid his hand inside to find the small cock iron-hard and standing upright along the hobbit's belly. Pippin twisted as the wizard's long fingers deftly stroked him. "Oh, Gandalf!" he groaned, putting out a hand to steady himself against the window sill as he became dizzy with excitement.

These, the first words either had uttered since Pippin had kissed Gandalf, seemed to galvanize the wizard even more, and he raised his mouth to cover the hobbit's jaw and cheeks with quick, hungry kisses. He slid Pippin's trousers down just far enough for the cock and balls to emerge. Moaning with desire, Gandalf turned suddenly, bringing Pippin's left leg over his right shoulder and lying back on the bench. As he did this, Pippin found himself resting on his side along the wizard's body. He waited impatiently as Gandalf unlaced his own trouser front and pushed it slightly down.

Pippin's erection bobbed beside Gandalf's face, and the wizard turned and drew it entirely into his mouth, so abruptly that Pippin thrashed briefly in surprise and delight. There were distinct advantages, he thought giddily, in having a lover considerably bigger than yourself. He settled into the regular rhythm of Gandalf's sucking, rocking his hips slightly to push his erection against the wizard's tongue. At the same time, he found himself able, short though he was, to reach Gandalf's long, engorged penis, now sticking out the front of his trousers. He could only reach far enough to suck and lick at the tip and a bit of the throbbing shaft, but he used his mouth as hard as he could, reaching one hand inside the trouser-front to cup and gently squeeze Gandalf's balls, while the other slid the loose skin up and down the shaft. Despite their somewhat awkward position on the bench, they quickly drove each other higher. Pippin could hear the blood pounding in his ears, and dimly above that, Gandalf's louder moans as his fulfillment hovered just beyond reach.

Suddenly Pippin froze and clenched his teeth as ecstasy flooded through him, and he felt Gandalf gulping the hot liquid that gushed repeatedly onto his tongue as Pippin thrashed wildly. Eventually the ecstasy faded, though lingering spasms caused the hobbit to twitch and gasp. During all this Pippin had stopped sucking and pumping Gandalf's erection, but as he pulled his penis from the wizard's mouth, he slid a few inches further down Gandalf's body until he could reach the entire length of the shaft with his mouth. Eager to give the wizard the same pleasure he had just experienced, he pulled and stroked at the velvety tip as he sucked and licked the sensitive ridge on the underside of the shaft. As he heard Gandalf's arousal reaching a fever pitch, he recalled a particularly responsive place on his own body, and he wiggled the hard tip of his tongue deep into the soft area where the base of the penis met the sac of the testicles. At once Gandalf's whole body stiffened, and he gasped "Yes, oh, yes!" Pippin continued to delve into the same spot, and soon Gandalf's ragged panting gave way to loud groans, and long streams sprayed up and fell onto the stone floor. Pippin kept tonguing and pumping, finally raising his head to run his tongue over the tip, collecting the last few drops as they emerged.

For a moment they lay perfectly still, savoring the afterglow and waiting until their hearts stopped racing. At last both had recovered enough to notice the little discomforts that their clumsy position was causing. Gandalf carefully sat up and eased Pippin back onto the bench at his side. The hobbit threw his arms as far around the wizard's waist as he could-which Gandalf's thin body made relatively easy. He pressed his head against the side of the wizard's chest. Gandalf's hand stroked Pippin's hair and cheek. After a short, blissful stretch of silence, Gandalf remarked with a smile, "I think we would be well advised to move to a bed before we do this again. As I said, we should use them while we have them." Pippin glanced up into his face, delighted to hear that they were going to do it again. "Now?" he whispered.

The wizard smiled down on him with more genuine delight than Pippin had seen on his face since-well, probably since Bilbo's birthday party so long ago. "Definitely," Gandalf replied, "that is, unless YOU don't want to. Do you?" Pippin nodded so quickly and so enthusiastically that Gandalf could hardly doubt his sincerity. As Gandalf was about to rise, Pippin detained him. "But don't you want-I mean, I'm really not able to give you as much pleasure as I'd like doing it this way. That is, well, I can't get your cock into my mouth the way you can with mine. Don't you want to... to go inside me?" he concluded uncertainly. Gandalf stared into his face. "I'm significantly bigger than you," he said, "and I do not want to hurt you."

"But I know you'd be careful," Pippin said, "and, um, I want to try it-but do you want to do it?" Gandalf hesitated briefly. "I would love to take you in that way, but I really do fear that it would be very painful. If we try it, you must promise to let me know if the pain is too great, and I will stop at once." Pippin nodded solemnly. The wizard rose and walked over to a little sideboard near the table, where Pippin noticed for the first time a lumpy covered object-a tray, apparently. Lifting the draped cloth slightly, Gandalf pulled out a small bowl and went over to his sleeping alcove. Pippin followed, his heart beating fast again, though this time it was partly with fear. Despite his reassurances to the wizard, he was not at all sure that he would be able to bear the pain. Casual couplings with his hobbit friends had been bad enough at first, and they were his own size. Gandalf was not only more than half again his own height, but he had what Pippin suspected was quite a generous endowment, even among Men. One of Gandalf's many hidden powers, Pippin thought with a grin as he joined the wizard in the alcove.

Getting into the bed, Gandalf placed the large pillow against the wooden headboard and leaned comfortably back against it, gesturing for Pippin to join him. Pippin quickly climbed up, straddling Gandalf's belly and placing his hands on the wizard's shoulders. He leaned forward and kissed Gandalf, and their mouths explored each other for a long time, as both waited for their spent penises to catch up to their desires. At last Pippin pulled back and looked Gandalf up and down. He was himself completely naked by this point, having shed his loose trousers as soon as he had left the bench. But although Gandalf had kicked off his boots-Pippin had no idea when-he was otherwise still fully clothed, though his trouser front was only loosely laced up. As Pippin reached out to unbutton the shirt, Gandalf took his hand to stop him and said, "You do not need to remove my clothes if you do not wish to. I do not have a wonderful young body like yours. I am an old man, after all.

Pippin stared at him, "But you aren't, are you? Not really."

Gandalf raised one eyebrow and glanced to the side briefly in thought. When he looked back at Pippin, he replied, "Perhaps not. But I have the body of an old man, and that is what you will be caressing, my dear boy." Pippin gulped, awe overcoming his desire for a moment. His question of earlier that day-"What was Gandalf?"-popped into his mind, and he sat still, abashed at being so intimate with such a lordly being. Gandalf smiled and stroked his cheek, and Pippin realized that the wizard was quite simply, at that moment, his friend and lover. He reached out again but his hands could barely find the top button in the dense beard. With an amused smile Gandalf pushed his beard aside and gave it a loose twist to hold it there. Pippin grasped the top button but paused to look at the white shirt. It was made of an extraordinarily soft cloth and showed not a speck of dirt despite all the riding and fighting and exertions of the past days. The sleeves were loose, gathered at the cuff, and the collar was covered with a delicate tracery which Pippin saw was embroidered patterns of foliage done in a slightly shiny cream-colored thread against the ground of the pure white fabric. It was lovely, with a style that was vaguely familiar. Pippin remembered that Gandalf had said something about going to Lórien before he rejoined the Company. Gandalf noticed his admiring gaze. "Beautiful, isn't it? The Elves of Lórien pamper me shamelessly, but given the rather dismal conditions I often put up with during my travels, I think I deserve it occasionally."

Pippin smiled and leaned in, parting the top of the shirt and pressing his open mouth against the throbbing vein in the wizard's throat. Gandalf began to raise his arms to caress Pippin, but the hobbit whispered, "Just lie still. Please, you know my body now, a bit at least. But I know little of yours ... beyond one very important part," he added glancing downward. Gandalf smiled. "More pampering, eh? Well, I won't object." He relaxed his head against the pillow and lay quietly as Pippin moved down his chest and belly, lingering over each new gap revealed by the opening of the next button, quietly kissing and tonguing the wizard's chest. Gandalf's eyes were closed and his head rolled gently from side to side; little gusts of air expelled through his nostrils signaled when the hobbit hit a particularly sensitive spot. When Pippin brushed one brown nipple with his tongue, Gandalf gasped and pushed him gently aside. "Not that, not yet," he whispered, and Pippin continued to move downward, pulling the shirt easily out of the loose waistband of Gandalf's trousers.

As Pippin undid the last button and pulled the shirt wide on either side, he gazed at Gandalf's body. Despite the wizard's self-consciousness, his body really showed surprisingly few signs of age. He was wiry and muscular, but almost painfully thin. No wonder his body had felt so hard against Pippin's back during that long ride. In the course of those days, Gandalf had finally told him a bit about his battle with the Balrog, his rescue, and his week recuperating in Galadriel's care. He had said of that recuperation: "She fed me well, of course, all sorts of rich delicacies to fatten me up. I was not so emaciated when I left as when I had been rescued, but I have not had much opportunity to eat well since then-though I dined most memorably on the feast you and Merry prepared for us at Isengard. At any rate, lembas does not exactly fill one's belly, let alone pad it." Recalling his words now, Pippin passed his fingers lightly over the muscles that lay so starkly visible below the skin. Gandalf had three thin, straight creases across the middle of his belly, two just above his navel and one that bisected it, and there was perhaps a hint of a sag in his pectorals-not that there was much there to sag. Not exactly a beautiful body, he reflected, but a reasonably attractive one at any rate.

Indeed, he realized that his cock was showing definite signs of revival, and when he reached behind himself to stroke the front of Gandalf's trousers, he felt an encouraging swelling there as well. He gradually managed to pull Gandalf's white trousers off, as the wizard bent his knees and pulled his hips slightly off the bed to assist the process. At last Pippin had Gandalf as naked as himself, and he moved back to straddle the wizard's hips, his buttocks resting against the growing member. Now was the time, he thought nervously, and he lay down along Gandalf's torso and flicked his tongue against one of Gandalf's smooth, slightly rounded nipples. At once Gandalf moaned and gulped for air, and he certainly made no effort to push Pippin away this time. The nipple puckered as Pippin sucked and licked wetly at it, then switched to the other one. Soon the wizard was gently writhing under him and drawing in deep breaths that hissed through his clenched teeth. His growing arousal fed Pippin's own, and soon the hobbit was moaning gently against Gandalf's chest.

At last Gandalf sat up and held Pippin by his shoulders, looking earnestly into his face. "Do you still want to try this?" Pippin simply nodded. Gandalf pushed the pillow into a roll and placed it in the middle of the bed so that Pippin could rest his body across it. The wizard reached for the little bowl, which Pippin could see held a pat of butter. "It's the only thing we have," Gandalf said. "I hope it will serve." Carefully he smeared the greasy stuff, melting in the heat of his hand, onto the top part of his erection, then delicately along the crease of Pippin's ass, tickling at the little puckered hole and working at it with his fingers as the hobbit tried his best to relax. At last they were both ready, and Gandalf placed the tip of his erection at the little hole. "Now," Pippin whispered. At once he felt a searing pain as Gandalf thrust the tip inside, then stopped. Pippin clenched his teeth, determined not to cry out or do anything to discourage Gandalf. He so wanted to please the wizard that he felt he would endure almost anything-though if the pain did not ease a bit he realized he could not continue. Gandalf remained motionless, and when Pippin glanced back at him, he saw beads of sweat standing out on the wizard's forehead as he tried to gauge the degree of Pippin's discomfort.

At last the pain eased a bit, and Pippin nodded to Gandalf, who very slowly pushed a bit further in, paused, and then cautiously pulled back and thrust a couple of times. "All right?" he asked anxiously. Pippin was not quite sure, and they waited again. Finally the hobbit nodded. Gandalf recommenced his tentative thrusting. Pippin's cock, which had gone completely limp when Gandalf entered him, finally began to revive as the wizard stroked it, and the ache in his ass was now mingled with little jolts of deep pleasure.

How long it lasted after that, Pippin could not tell. Gandalf fell into a rhythm of gentle pumping. Pippin was drifting on the long, slow climb toward ecstasy as the wizard's thrusts increasingly tantalized him. He did not know whether Gandalf was trying to spare him further pain or was simply prolonging his enjoyment of the incredible tightness of the hobbit, but the gentle prodding was causing progressively less pain and inducing a growing excitement. Gandalf had only about a third of his erection inside him, but he made no effort to go further. Pippin twisted his head again to look back at the wizard's face and saw his eyes were serenely closed, and he was lost in bliss. At one point Gandalf murmured quietly, "Oh, Pippin ... this is exquisite! It has been so long."

At last the wizard began to whimper softly and to thrust a bit harder. Pippin was by that point also in the grip of building pleasure. His panting became ragged and his eyes squeezed shut. He dimly hoped that what he was giving Gandalf would be enough. His climax was already tickling at his cock, and he gasped out, "More!" Gandalf hesitated for an instant, as if he was unsure whether Pippin meant for him to move deeper or go faster. Tentatively he pushed a bit more of his shaft inside, and Pippin groaned, "Yes!" The wizard also increased the pace, and the hobbit began to take shallow, uneven breaths. He trembled as the wizard pumped slightly harder, and his body stiffened as he suddenly exploded into Gandalf's hand. He had never felt it so intensely, and all the pain seemed nothing compared to the waves to ecstasy that rolled through his shaft and spread through his loins. As he gradually came down from the height of his bliss, he became aware that Gandalf was struggling to contain an overwhelming desire to delve deeper and harder into Pippin. Pippin relaxed a bit and rested his forehead on the blanket, still enjoying the last tiny spasms as his pleasure seeped away. He could feel Gandalf digging his fingers hard into the hobbit's ass cheeks and moaning with each thrust. "Don't worry ... go on," Pippin managed to gasp, and Gandalf curled over his back to grip him tightly around the waist with one arm as he gave a series of short, hard thrusts that at last made him shudder over and over as he spilled his pent-up desire into Pippin.

Finally Gandalf relaxed his tensed belly against Pippin's back, kissing his neck and shoulders, his free hand stroking up and down the small body. He murmured into the hobbit's ear, "Thank you, Pippin, thank you for this." Gandalf's weight pressed Pippin far down into the large pillow, but the hobbit enjoyed the sensation of being almost engulfed by his lover's body. Finally Gandalf pulled out of him and asked, "Are you all right? I hope I did not inadvertently hurt you at the end, but your tightness and eagerness almost drove me beyond control. You seemed ultimately to enjoy it, but I hope it was not too painful along the way." Pippin did not trust himself to speak out loud, for his voice would undoubtedly shake. Instead he whispered, "It was wonderful-better than I could have imagined."

After their breathing and hearts returned to normal, Gandalf pulled Pippin up from the depths of the pillow and again placed it upright against the headboard. He settled back into it, taking Pippin on his lap. The hobbit settled against the wizard's chest and stretched his own legs out along Gandalf's, where they reached to the middle of the wizard's shins. Gandalf said quietly, "I have had to banish such joys from my life for so many months now. I'm so grateful, Pippin, that you have led me back to them." Pippin felt his lower lip tremble, and he bit it to hold back his tears. He longed to tell Gandalf that he loved him, but now hardly seemed the time--their future was so uncertain. And, tender though he was with Pippin, could a great wizard really love a silly little hobbit?

To banish these thoughts from his mind, Pippin said teasingly, "Well, at least you've found out that I'm of SOME use on this long journey." Gandalf did not laugh, however. Quite seriously and slowly he said, "I suspect that your part in the Fellowship's efforts is just beginning. Evil though war is, it has a remarkable way of bringing out the strengths that may have lain unnoticed, deep within a person. You have chosen your part yourself, as a soldier, and now, after all my dodging and parrying with the Dark Lord from afar, it will come down to a military struggle for all of us-except for Frodo and Sam, I hope," he added with a sigh.

Pippin was sobered by the grim reminder, but even that could not outweigh his deep delight that Gandalf had unexpectedly seen such promise in him. He vowed to do everything he could to live up to the wizard's expectations. As if sensing his thoughts, Gandalf kissed the top of Pippin's head and said, "You don't think, do you, that I urged Elrond to admit you to the Fellowship through pity or sentiment? I might have been very fond of you, Pip, but I could hardly endanger the Company by bringing a useless person along. No, I long ago developed a great faith in hobbits-a faith, I might add, that has led to considerable bafflement and even teasing by some among the Wise, who know little of your kind. But although hobbits usually only reveal their fortitude under extreme circumstances, they seldom fail when put to the test."

Pippin felt the wizard shifting slightly beneath him, and Gandalf eased the hobbit's head to rest against his left shoulder. He hugged Pippin tightly for a moment, then more gently, resting his cheek and the side of his mouth against Pippin's head. They sat silently for a long time, and Pippin felt the wizard's breath against his skin. Despite the looming war, he realized that he had not felt so secure and content since ... well, probably that night in Treebeard's home, and perhaps not even then.

Eventually he felt Gandalf's breathing becoming slower and deeper, and his chin began to dig into Pippin's shoulder a bit painfully. Pippin eased himself off the relaxed body. He nudged the drowsy wizard gently down, pulling the pillow along with him, until he was lying comfortably in the bed. Pippin then settled himself beside his lover, pulling the blanket up over them both. He thought with a smile, "I suppose getting a wizard to sleep is not the most crucial thing in the world, but at least I've accomplished my quest for tonight." He moved to rest his head on Gandalf's chest, his tousled curls mingling with the wizard's beard. He felt drowsiness stealing upon him as well, but he struggled to keep awake and savor what had happened. Whatever the looming war brought, he had at last recognized his love for this kind and generous man. Perhaps there would never be another occasion for them to come together like this. Perhaps they faced battles, defeat, and, ultimately, death. At least he had this night, and if by great good fortune the Alliance prevailed and he went on to live a long life, he suspected that nothing would ever happen to him that he would treasure more than these few hours.

As Pippin fought to stay awake, the sleeping wizard moved his arms to rest on the hobbit in a light embrace. He suddenly remembered how often Gandalf had helped him to feel secure and drift into slumber. How he had defended the Company that night when the wargs attacked and when Pippin himself had been the most terrified of all. The hobbit had managed to sleep a little after that. In Moria, Gandalf had been so stern and yet forgiving after Pippin had foolishly dropped the fragment of stone down the well. He remembered how he had felt like embracing the wizard in gratitude when he offered to take Pippin's watch. He stifled a laugh, picturing what it would have been like if Gandalf and he had made love then and there, kissing and caressing each other on that hard stone floor. And then, only five nights ago, there had been that horrible moment when he looked in the palantir. He winced at the memory of how temptation had kept him wide awake while poor Merry yawned beside him. Gandalf had been terribly angry afterwards-and rightly so-but the old wizard had again forgiven him. Pippin recalled vividly how Gandalf had leaned forward as they both knelt on the cold ground, putting his arms around the hobbit. Pippin had thought at first that Gandalf was simply trying to comfort him, though actually he was reaching out to carry him back to his bedroll. Pippin had thrown his arms around Gandalf's neck, tightly, during that short walk. When Gandalf had later taken him astride Shadowfax, holding him and talking so soothingly, Pippin had finally drifted into the slumber that had earlier eluded him. And again, he thought, the next morning when they had stopped briefly at Edoras and the Nazgûl had flown over. Pippin had cowered along with the bravest soldiers of Rohan, crouching and trembling on a stone bench in a corner. Even Gandalf might have been frightened by the fell creature's presence, but he did not show it, and he took the time to walk over and sit by Pippin, whispering into his ear and banishing the unnatural fear. He could not remember what Gandalf had said; it was his voice and nearness more than the words that calmed him and helped him sleep. But now he remembered again as well the feel of Gandalf's warm breath on his ear and the steady hand on his shoulder. And he closed his eyes and soon shared the wizard's peaceful sleep on this night of foreboding.

Pippin was roused by Gandalf. Candles were lit in their chamber, for only a dim twilight came through the windows; the air was heavy as with approaching thunder. All the bliss of the night before seemed banished by the oppressive darkness, and he felt frightened and tired.

"What is the time?" said Pippin, yawning.

"Past the second hour," said Gandalf. "Time to get up and make yourself presentable. You are summoned to the Lord of the City to learn your new duties."

"And will he provide breakfast?"

"No! I have provided it: all that you will get till noon. Food is now doled out by order."

Pippin looked ruefully at the small loaf and (he thought) very inadequate pat of butter which was set out for him, beside a cup of thin milk. He realized that the covered tray of the night before had held this meager meal. He sat slowly spreading the butter on his bread. The darkness seemed to drain all his courage and resolve. Suddenly a wave of guilt and regret passed over him. How had he dared to approach Gandalf at such a time? He had thought he just wanted to help the wizard, but now it seemed a selfish act. Anything that distracted Gandalf from the immediate dangers they faced was more than silly-it could be downright dangerous for the wizard to be besotted with a silly hobbit. He felt it would have been better if he had stayed with Merry and Aragorn and the others.

While he ate, he noticed that Gandalf had no butter dish by his plate and was eating his bread dry. His tiny, generous gesture of letting Pippin have the remaining pat of butter brought the hobbit to the brink of tears. It was absurd, but that dry bread deepened Pippin's feeling that, no matter how much pleasure he had been able to give Gandalf last night, he was still basically a burden. Perhaps Gandalf already regretted succumbing to the temptation that, Pippin had to admit to himself, he had quite aggressively held out to the wizard. Certainly his face as he sat studying a map spread out on the table did not reflect any of the joy of last night.

"Why did you bring me here?" Pippin asked in a low, miserable voice.

Gandalf looked curiously at him, clearly taken aback by this change in the hobbit. He responded with the hint of a wry smile, "You know quite well. To keep you out of mischief; and if you do not like being here, you can remember that you brought it on yourself." He resumed his contemplation of the map.

Pippin said no more, but silently finished eating his bread. He still felt guilty, though he tried to reassure himself that he had no reason to. Certainly Gandalf betrayed no signs of doting on or coddling him just because they were now lovers. Or had been lovers for a few rapturous hours. Pippin recalled Bilbo's tales of his journey with the Dwarves to slay the dragon. Bilbo had laughed when he described how hard Gandalf had been on him, scolding him frequently despite his insistence to the Dwarves that Bilbo had a great deal of worth buried in him. Bilbo had said he later realized that Gandalf had been goading him into becoming braver, more responsible, more self-reliant. It had been he, after all, who ended by filling in as the Dwarves' rescuer after Gandalf's departure to deal with the Necromancer. Perhaps, Pippin thought with a bit of his accustomed cheerfulness seeping back, that was going to be Gandalf's way with him as well. That must be it. If only he could respond as well as Bilbo had. He gazed at Gandalf with a shaky smile and eyes full of love, and the wizard glanced at him with a fond, melancholy smile. At that point he felt he could certainly deal with Gandalf's quick temper and the occasional sarcastic comment if only he could also elicit the kind of tenderness and joy he had shared with the wizard. The darkness outside suddenly did not weigh so heavily on him.

The melancholy in the wizard's smile had touched his heart, and he rose and moved around the table to stand before Gandalf. He resolved just to give the wizard a peck on the cheek and ask if it was time to leave; certainly this was not the moment to offer any more selfish invitations to physical love. But the wizard gave him a more affectionate look and pushed back his chair, spreading his knees wide enough to pull Pippin gently against his chest, wrapping his arms around the hobbit. All Pippin's lingering doubts fled as Gandalf slowly, gently moved his lips against the hobbit's in a kiss that lingered in pure affection and reassurance. Gandalf seemed about to break the kiss, but abruptly it deepened, and Pippin felt the wizard's chest rising and falling faster as his tongue explored the hobbit's welcoming mouth. Pippin reached down to cup Gandalf's trouser-front and found his member growing slightly firm under his fingers. As he stroked Gandalf, he felt his own penis shift and attempt to straighten, held in by the constraining cloth.

Finally Gandalf pulled away, and Pippin's hand stopped moving. They stared at each other in mingled passion and amusement. Gandalf whispered, "Maybe it is because I have not done this in a long time, or perhaps I just have a particularly entrancing partner-but I'm afraid I am not yet quite satisfied." His hand found Pippin's erection and stroked it through the cloth. "Apparently you aren't, either."

"What about our audience with Denethor?" Pippin asked hoarsely, his eyes closing as he tried frantically to remember his duty as a soldier while Gandalf's adroit fingers worked on him. The wizard was tonguing his throat by now, and he paused briefly to reply, "I have allowed extra time-we won't be very late." He moved his mouth to the hobbit's ear, digging his tongue into it, and whispered, "Besides, he wasted a great deal of my time yesterday. There is nothing of immediate urgency, and it is his turn to wait on my pleasure."

With that he swept aside his empty plate and cup, along with the map, clearing a space for Pippin, whom he effortlessly lifted to sit on the edge of the table. Pulling the chair closer, Gandalf pushed Pippin's knees wide and unlaced the front of the hobbit's trousers-which Pippin had fastened so neatly in preparation for the visit to the Steward. As Pippin watched Gandalf's hands, he panted and leaned back with his hands planted flat on the table. "Well, it's certainly not me doing the tempting this time," he thought, as his mind began to spin with arousal. He could think now only of the wizard's touch as he pulled his erection out and leaned in to lick and suck Pippin's shaft and balls, circling the tip with his tongue and then drawing the whole thing into his mouth. Despite his casual words about Denethor, there was no time for a leisurely build-up, and Pippin lolled his head back as he felt Gandalf's mouth suck very hard, his tongue flicking insistently back and forth across the responsive ridge. He gently placed two fingertips on the hobbit's balls and rolled them gently as he pulled hungrily at the throbbing cock. As Pippin's excitement soared, he lay back in complete abandon on the bare wooden table, his fingernails digging into its rough surface as he writhed in desperate need. At last his climax welled up. He had placed his feet atop Gandalf's thighs, and now he dug his heels hard into them, arching his hips upward. Gandalf grimaced slightly but was able to swallow the warm cum that gushed suddenly into his mouth. He continued his attentions to Pippin's cock until the lingering spasms eased from the hobbit's body and he lay still, lightheaded from the incredible bliss. He felt Gandalf gently kissing the tender insides of his thighs and sighed in pure joy.

Pippin could have lain there for hours, but they were pressed for time, and Gandalf must have his turn. He hopped down off the table and almost lunged down to crouch before the chair. Quickly he drew the wizard's stiffening penis from his trousers and began to lick it. Feeling again too small to pleasure Gandalf effectively, he tried brushing his fingers over the large testicles. Encouraged by the response, he rose slightly and pushed his mouth down over the tip. He could not get much beyond it, but he sucked eagerly. Soon Gandalf's climax was tantalizingly near, and he begged Pippin to bring him to it. He rested his weight on his elbows placed on the arms of the chair, raising his stiff body from the seat, straining toward release. Pippin moved his hands up and down the pulsing shaft and sucked as hard as he possibly could. Finally Gandalf gave a loud moaning gasp and instantly his cum filled Pippin's mouth. The hobbit tried to swallow, but could not manage it all, and part of it gushed out and dribbled down over his fingers as he continued to pump the shaft. As the ecstasy slowly slipped away, Gandalf sat, gulping for air. At last he opened his eyes. He stroked Pippin's hair once, then rose and pulled up his trousers. "At least neither of us got any on our clothes," he commented. "We can make ourselves presentable again fairly easily." They carefully laced up their trousers and straightened their clothing, then stood facing each other with grins on their faces. Pippin finally said, "I thought you brought me here to keep me OUT of mischief."

Gandalf shook his head in mock exasperation, pulling Pippin against himself. "Cheeky little fellow. I only hope I don't fail as miserably in my other goals as I have in that particular one." Pippin felt a little gust of amusement ruffle his hair, and he nestled against the wizard. After a few silent moments, they reluctantly drew apart. "You are looking far too smug, young hobbit," Gandalf said. "Denethor wants serious countenances on his guards." But as Pippin wiped the smile from his face and turned to start for the door, Gandalf's hand on his shoulder detained him briefly. "Pippin, I truly hope that there may be a few more quiet moments for us before the crisis comes, for I would not so quickly lose what we have found together." He leaned down quickly and brushed his lips for an instant against the hobbit's cheek, then straightened. After staring down into Pippin's face for a moment, he whispered, "You are so very young," so softly that Pippin was not sure he had heard right. Gandalf quickly crossed and went out the door. Pippin remained still and swallowed hard. He straightened up and stood as tall as a hobbit could. "Peregrin, Son of Paladin, soldier of Gondor," he murmured and hurried through the door to catch up with the wizard.