Bilbo's Last Gift by nautika

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Story Notes:

Theme: 010 january potluck challenge

Elements: Though there had been cool days earlier in the week, this day had turned very nearly as bright and warm as summer.(from September 22 challenge)

Author's Notes: This was the first story I started for the LOTRG challenge. The song mentioned is "Bilbo's Song".

Frodo heard a step behind him, but didn’t bother turning around.

“Frodo, are you well?” Frodo waited until Gandalf eased down onto the boulder next to Frodo and straightened his robes before answering.

“Yes, Gandalf, I’m well. I’m just waiting for the stars.” Though there had been cool days earlier in the week, this day had turned very nearly as bright and warm as summer. Frodo would be glad for the cool of the evening.

“Your birthday will be difficult without him.”

“It will be the first time since I was a tween that I won't drink to his health. I was lucky to have him as long as I did, but I had hoped for one birthday together here in Aman.”

“He would have liked that, as well.”

Frodo smiled. “He gave such wonderful parties. I think I preferred the ones at Bag End to the one at the Party Tree, though. At Bag End, he was still there when the party was over.”

“You have friends here, Frodo, who would be honored to spend the day with you tomorrow.”

“I think I’d rather spend this one alone, Gandalf. I’ve been so busy caring for Bilbo that I haven’t any gifts to give, and it wouldn’t be a Baggin’s Birthday without gifts.” Frodo heard the tremble in his voice and paused to collect himself. When he spoke again, he knew his voice was firm. “I’m going to stay home and look over some more of his notes, and think about our parties together…and apart. Pippin, Merry, Fatty and Folco celebrated with me the night before I left Bag End with … the Ring. We sang and talked of mischief we'd made over the years. We spent some time under the stars that night, too."

"They will be thinking of you tomorrow, I am certain."

Frodo knew Gandalf meant well, but it just made him feel worse to be reminded that friends and family were thinking of him when they were beyond his reach. "I'll be fine, Gandalf. Truly. We knew it was coming, and everyone has been very kind. Next year, we'll celebrate in true Hobbit fashion."

"If you wish to be alone, I'll leave you then. You know where to find me if you change your mind."

"Thank you." As Gandalf prepared to stand, Frodo put a hand over one of the wizard's. "I know you and Bilbo were friends for a long time, Gandalf. It helps to know you miss him, too." Kind eyes met his, and Frodo thought he saw a sheen in them before Gandalf nodded and rose.

He waited until Gandalf was out of sight, but not necessarily out of hearing range, and looked toward the sky. The light of day was fading as he began to sing a portion of Bilbo's last gift to him.

'Lands there are
To West of West
Where night is quiet
And sleep is rest.'

"Sleep well, my dear Bilbo."

~The End~

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