Paying It Forward by Shirebound

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Story Notes:

Written for the November 2016 challenge "Gratitude" with the element gracious (kind).


“I wonder, Frodo my dear fellow, if you would very much mind tidying things up a bit before you go? Collect all my notes and papers, and my diary too, and take them with you, if you will. You see, I haven’t much time for the selection and the arrangement and all that. Get Sam to help, and when you’ve knocked things into shape, come back, and I’ll run over it.”‘Many Partings’, The Return of the King


The relief Bilbo felt when Frodo left the room, arms laden with notebooks, folders, loose paper, and maps, was nearly as great as when his lad had awakened in Rivendell from that terrible wounding. At last I can rest, Bilbo thought, sinking down on the bed with a sigh. My ring is gone, as is my part in telling its tale. Even now I don’t know if I could have written of its true nature, so long was it a part of my own. But Frodo will arrange my notes and finish the tale, and if he needs help, Sam will see it done. It took them both to see my ring to its end, and I somehow sense they will need one another to complete our story.

As if his thoughts had been a summons, Bilbo looked up to see Sam standing in the doorway.

“Is there aught you need, Mr. Bilbo?” Sam asked.

Bilbo smiled, and motioned him inside.

“Not any longer, Samwise. My burden is gone, thanks to Frodo... and you. You’ve been so kind to my lad. And you’ll stay by him still, won’t you?”

“Mr. Bilbo,” Sam said softly, “I’d never leave him, not ever.”

“Just as I hoped,” Bilbo said contentedly. “Now then, isn’t it time for luncheon?”

“Near about,” Sam agreed. He fetched Bilbo’s sturdy cane, and helped the old hobbit to his feet.

“Thank you,” Bilbo said, patting Sam on the arm. “By the way, do you still remember your letters?”

“I do, sir,” Sam said, surprised at the sudden change in the conversation. “I practice all the time.”

“Excellent,” Bilbo said happily as they headed toward the door. “Life is full of surprises, Samwise; goodness me, a person just never knows when he'll be inspired to do a bit of writing.”




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