Those Who Wait: 3. Mr. Bilbo Baggins

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3. Mr. Bilbo Baggins

No two ways about it, it was all his fault.

If only he hadn't found the the Ring! But if not
him it would have been some Orc, and with Sauron
practically next door in Dol Guldur he'd have had it
back before you could wink and then where would they
all be?

Bilbo sighed and massaged his eyes wearily. The
wide world was a very complicated place, everything
was connected with everything else so that if you
changed just one little thing, like a Hobbit Burglar
with a magic ring, it might all fall apart.

Without the Ring he wouldn't have escaped the
Goblin Tunnels or been able to rescue his companions
time and time again. And without Thorin and Company
Smaug would still be brooding over the ruins of Erebor
and Dale, and the Dwarves would still be wandering
homeless, and poor Bard would have died a simple
bowman in Laketown.

So, odd as it seemed, the Ring of the Enemy had
done *some* good, at least while it was in the hands
of Bilbo Baggins! What was it Gandalf had said? Oh
yes, That he, Bilbo, had been *meant* to find the Ring
and to use it, and *meant* to pass it on to Frodo when
it became to much for him.

And it was to much for him, he'd proved that to
himself, and Frodo too, the day the Fellowship left
Rivendell. The Ring had him good and proper, no
mistaking, why he'd probably carry it straight home to
Sauron! he shuddered at the thought. No, it had to be
the boy.

And the quest would cost Frodo his life. Bilbo
hadn't been meant to hear that but he had. His nephew
was going to die and it was all his fault. His fault
for finding the Ring, his fault for adopting Frodo,
and most of all his fault for leaving the burden to
him.

"Bilbo."

The Hobbit hastily wiped his eyes and stuffed his
handkerchief back in his pocket before turning to face
Elrond.

The Master of Rivendell's face lookd more deeply
lined than usual, grim and grieving. Bilbo's heart
stopped. "Frodo?" he managed to croak.

"There has been no fresh news of the Ringbearer."
Elrond assured him quickly. "But my Mortal kin tell me
Rivendell itself is under threat from an army of Orcs
and Trolls mustering in the Ettenmoors. I have decided
to send my people to the Havens. And you, Bilbo
Baggins, must decide what you are going to do."

"Do?" the Hobbit echoed blankly.

"You cannot stay here alone." the Elf lord pointed
out reasonably, knelt down to put himself on eye
level. "We must pass through the Shire on our way to
the Havens, you can return to your own people if you
like."

Bilbo swallowed. "I don't think so. You see they'd
want to know about Frodo and the others and I wouldn't
know what to tell them."

"Then you must continue with us to the Havens.
Cirdan would welcome your company."

"That's very kind of him." said Bilbo politely,
brightened suddenly. "Why I could see the sea! I'd
like that."
***

All of Rivendell was in a tizzy the next day as its
inhabitants prepared to leave. Which in the case of
the Elves seemed to involve making farewell visits to
all their favorite places and walks rather than
packing.

"Aren't you going to take anything with you?" Bilbo
asked his friend Lindir.

The Elf smiled sadly. "Food enough for the journey
to the Havens, a change of garments and perhaps a
keepsake or two, no more. They say it is better so,
and we shall find all that we need waiting for us in
the West." his tone altered. "But that doesn't apply
to you, Bilbo! You must take your books and your notes
so you may continue your studies in Mithlond, and
anything else you think you will need or want."

Half of Rivendell ended up helping Bilbo with his
packing. The Elves in the kitchens made up packets of
his favorite things to eat, while other Elves bundled up
his clothes and pipes and walking sticks, carefully
collected and wrapped his notes, blank paper and pens,
and Elrond himself selected books from the library for
him. Having something to do seemed to cheer them all
up a little.

Still the atmosphere was very solemn as the long
procession set out that evening, crossing the bridge
and winding their way up the long path out of the
valley, Elf lanterns twinkling like stars in their
hands.

Bilbo, perched uncomfortably atop an Elven horse
rather to big for him led by Lindir and surrounded by
other Elves carrying his packages and bundles, had all
he could do to keep awake, and the soft Elvish singing
didn't help one bit! Why they'd waited til nightfall
to leave he couldn't imagine, nor how long it'd be
before he'd be able to lie down for a proper sleep.

They stopped just before dawn at an Elven resting
place off the Great Road with the swift waters of the
Bruinen chuckling somewhere beyond the trees. Bilbo's
Elven companions showed him to a bower woven of living
trees and he crawled gratefully into the heap of furs and
silken coverlets. He was just drifting off to sleep
when a soft voiced "Bilbo?" jerked him awake.

"Lady Arwen?" he asked uncertainly, peering into
the predawn dimness.

A pale oval of a face, framed in dark velvet,
nodded. "I am not going to the Havens."

"Of course you're not." Bilbo agreed promptly. "Er
- where are you going then?"

She smiled. "Where I belong." it faded. "But I
cannot just disappear, I want my father to know I am
safe. Tell him - I love him and my mother but I must
follow my heart." tears made sparkling tracks down her
cheeks.

"Indeed you must." Bilbo said firmly. "All the ages
of the world is much too long a time to live with a
broken heart."

A smile. "I agree." she leaned forward to place a
kiss on his brow. "Thank you, Bilbo."

This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.

Story Information

Author: Morwen Tindomerel

Status: General

Completion: Complete

Era: 3rd Age - Ring War

Genre: Drama

Rating: General

Last Updated: 04/12/03

Original Post: 04/12/03

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