THANKS TO **BUDGIELOVER** for nudging me to write a sequel to "Elementary, My Dear Gandalf". This story takes place immediately after Frodo gets the Ring and Gandalf leaves Bag End. I apologize that Chapter 1 is a bit short --- I'll update as time permits!
DISCLAIMER: Of course. The characters don't belong to me, I just get to think about them day and night.
MASTER OF BAG END
Chapter 1 --- Without a Word
"Keep it secret. Keep it safe!" And he was gone.
I'm alone. Bilbo has left without a proper goodbye. Gandalf couldn't even stay long enough to explain anything to me. Bag End… is mine now? And everything in it? Including Bilbo's ring, apparently. Keep it safe…
There's no safer place than the chest that holds Bilbo's maps. Why, there's hardly a hobbit in the Shire who cares what's beyond the borders. No one ever cared about Bilbo's maps… but I do. Gandalf said that he's gone to stay with the Elves, which means that he's gone somewhere… Outside. Somewhere on those maps.
I'll find you someday, Bilbo. Here, I'll hide the ring under your maps. Someday I'll follow you, and find you, and give it back. You love it so much, you never let it out of your sight. How could you part with it? Just leave it behind, on the floor like that? Did it drop out of your pocket? Maybe you'll realize it's gone, and come back to look for it, and you'll say Frodo-lad! Did I forget to say goodbye? And we'll hug and cry and you'll explain everything to me.
There, all hidden away under your maps. Bag End is mine now? And everything in it? They're my maps, then, how astounding! Oh, Bilbo, all your maps, books, papers, pictures, clothes… mine? Bag End is mine?
I can still hear the Party going on from the front… from my front door. Down the hill from my garden. You left me everything? I'll be all right, then, I suppose. Bag End is an amazing home, and I love it so much. How could you leave it, Bilbo? What could you possibly be looking for Outside that you couldn't find in the Shire? Will I ever know?
They don't need me down there; the Party will go on until the food runs out, or until the sun rises. I can get some sleep and think about everything in the morning. Where should I sleep? Should I take your bedroom, now, Bilbo? No, not yet. Tonight I'll sleep in my own room, and pretend that you're sleeping in yours and I'll see you for breakfast like always. I love our breakfasts together, Bilbo. Where will you be having breakfast tomorrow? Did you take enough blankets so you won't be cold at night?
I'm being silly, aren't I? You've been everywhere and done everything. You can take care of yourself, and so can I. You saw to it, didn't you? You made sure I could take care of myself and be strong when you went away. Because I know you had to go away, Bilbo, I really do. All those maps… you would never have drawn them if you were content in the Shire. You were telling me all along, weren't you?
And you did say goodbye, didn't you? Tonight at the Party. Maybe it would have been too hard for you, otherwise. Ah, so that was it. You can face anything in Middle-earth, Bilbo, dragons and trolls and goblins --- but not saying goodbye to me. Because you love me. Thank you for loving me so much, Bilbo. I love you, too. And I'll be all right.
You and Gandalf have left a frightful mess, but I'll clean up tomorrow. Lots to do tomorrow in my home. Imagine that.
** TBC **