Bachelor Party by Dreamflower

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AUTHOR'S NOTE: This was written for Marigold's Challenge #21, with the starter line "Wasn't this bottle nearly full?"

”Wasn’t this bottle nearly full?” asked Rory, as only a few drops found their way into his goblet.

Bilbo took it and looked closely at it, upending it as though he could somehow make more, just by turning it over. “It was a little while ago.”

He looked closely at the Old Winyards label, and shook his head.

“I suppose,” said Rory, “that we drank all of it after all.” He glanced at the snoring figure at the other end of the table. “Where’s Dudo?”

“He gave up and went to bed a while back,” replied Bilbo. He took the bottle he still held and shook it sadly.

“He forgot the groom.”

Bilbo shook his head. “I know that Dudo is his brother, but I could have told Drogo he’d be useless to stand for him. Lad has no stamina.

Rory reached a hand across the table, and lifted the snorer’s head. There was not even a miss in the gentle rumble emanating from it. “I think he’s well and truly out.” He glanced about the room. “Dodi and Rufus are asleep, too. “ His younger brother and his brother-in-law were snoring away on the settee. “Where’s Dino?” he asked, referring to his other brother.

“He left when your father did.” Bilbo shook his head. “So did Chop. I guess Chop is just Adalgrim now.” His voice was mournful. “I never thought I’d see the day when he’d be willing to end an evening so early.”

“Well, five children, a farm, and a wife like Periwinkle Goldworthy would be enough to settle even the most flighty of Tooks down.” Rory replied sagely.

“I suppose,” said Bilbo. There was no doubt that the irrepressible scamp Bilbo had looked up to in his youth had married a lass who brooked no nonsense. Adalgrim adored her, but also walked carefully. She never had any qualms about telling him exactly what she thought if he did not live up to her idea of respectability.

Bilbo looked fondly at his sleeping cousin. “I don’t think Drogo will ever scold Primula for not being respectable--she can twist him right around her little finger, and do anything she wishes, and he will just smile.”

Rory sniffed. “But Primula dotes on him as well; just knowing him and how steady he is, is enough to keep her from behaving too wildly.”

“Well,” said Bilbo, “since Dudo has abandoned his duty, I suppose it is up to us as the last hobbits standing, to get him to his bed. He’s going to have a very sore head in the morning; it’s a good thing the wedding is not till noon. I wish my gardener was here.”

“Your gardener!” exclaimed Rory. “Whatever would you want him in Buckland for?”

“He knows an excellent remedy for over-indulgence, but it’s a family secret.”

“Ah. Well there’s no help for it. Come on.” He stood up, somewhat unsteadily himself and tugged at Drogo’s shoulder. Bilbo got up, and came to the other side, and between them, they got one arm around each of them and after a good deal of maneuvering got him upright. He stirred a bit at this, and managed to wake enough to move his feet.

Together they staggered through the sloped passages to the upper level where Drogo’s guest room was located. Bilbo found himself thinking gratefully that it was fortunate hobbits seldom went in for stairs inside their dwellings, unlike Dwarves, Elves and Men.

Unfortunately neither he nor Rory were exactly steady on their feet either, and they found themselves bumping into the walls from time to time. (“Ow,” “Shush, we’ll wake the whole smial,” “He’s heavy, let me shift him,” “Quiet!” “Careful, you’ll drop him!” “My toes!” “Hush!”)

Suddenly a door opened. “What on earth is going on out here? It sounds like a herd of ponies!” The feminine voice sounded cross. “Oh, I see.”

“Primrose!” hissed Rory. “I’m sorry we woke you!” Primrose was Adalgrim’s eldest daughter, and Primula’s best friend. She would be standing with the bride the next day.

She looked at them, and put a hand to her mouth to suppress a giggle. “It looks as though the groom has made a bit too merry, doesn’t it.” She peered at them more closely. “You two will be a bit worse for the wear as well. I think you need some help. I’ll get Father.”

“Wait,” hissed Bilbo, horrified. “We certainly don’t want to wake your mother!”

She smirked. “No, I’ve no doubt that would be a bad idea. But I can wake him without disturbing her. Mother sleeps like a log.”

She backed into the room, and shut the door. A moment later, and it opened again. Adalgrim was still tying the cord of his dressing gown, and shaking his head with an amused smile.

It was only a short distance to Drogo’s room then, and between the three of them, they divested him of his clothes and wrestled him into his nightshirt.

“Thanks, Chop,” said Bilbo. “That was most efficient.”

Adalgrim smiled ruefully. “I’ve not been called ‘Chop’ in a while. Winkie doesn’t like it.”

“He’s going to make a poor showing as a groom,” said Rory, shaking his head.

“He’ll be all right,” Adalgrim assured them. “I’ve a sovereign remedy for what will ail him. I’ll check in the morning, for I’ve no doubt Dudo will need the help. Shall I see you then as well?”

“If you’ve got something that will work better than willow-bark for a hangover,” said Rory, “you most certainly will.”

“I will be most glad, Chop,” said Bilbo. “I should like to compare your remedy to that of Master Hamfast.”

Adalgrim chuckled. “Let’s tuck him up, then. Do I need to come tuck the two of you up as well?” he asked with a mischievous twinkle that reminded both his friends of their irresponsible youth.

“No,” said Bilbo. “I shall see you in the morning! Good night!”


The next day, after elevenses--for none had felt much like either breakfast--the groom and his friends stood ready. Their eyes were a bit bloodshot, but otherwise none of them showed signs of the party the night before. Dudo was chided for his dereliction of duty, and blushed to admit to it.

And then all went to stand beneath the pavilion where the Master of Buckland waited to conduct the wedding of his youngest and most beloved daughter…

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