Disclaimer: Apparently these characters belong to some dead professor and not me. My lawyers are looking into this.

Story notes: Set some time after Bilbo and Frodo have sailed into the west with the Elves.


Frodo knocked softly on the door of Bilbo's study. There was something wonderfully comforting about this room and this door, the only familiar and Hobbit-like things in this strange, elvish land. It was the only place where everything was Hobbit-sized and, unlike the rooms the Elves spent their time in, it actually felt like it was properly indoors, with lower ceilings and smaller windows than the elves were accustomed to build and lit by candlelight instead of the sun, moon and stars.

"Come in. Ah, my dear boy, Gandalf must have told you I wanted to see you." Bilbo turned round in his chair by the fire to face Frodo, who nodded and came to sit in the chair opposite him.

Frodo had been confused by Gandalf's message; he knew that Frodo came to visit Bilbo almost every day and had wondered why he should be so insistent that he did so today, but now that he was here, he understood.

"Could I trouble you to fill the kettle and put it on to boil before you get yourself too settled? And then I have to talk to you about something."

Frodo got up again and did as Bilbo had asked, then sat back down, trying to subtly study Bilbo, but it did not go unnoticed.

"You're far too quiet today, Frodo, you haven't said a word to me yet, not even so much as a good morning." Bilbo smiled at his little joke, and Frodo returned the smile, remembering the story about Bilbo's first meeting with Gandalf.


"Think nothing of it. Now, there was a reason I wanted to talk to you, wasn't there? Yes, the box. Frodo, there's a box sitting on the writing table, would you fetch it for me?"

Frodo retrieved the box and handed it to Bilbo, who took a small silver key from his waistcoat pocket and unlocked it.

"There are some things I'd like to give to you before it's too late and my mind goes entirely." Bilbo smiled again, but this time Frodo couldn't bring himself to return it as enthusiastically. "Although I'm afraid to say that most of them are letters to send to other people. I don't have as many mathoms to pass on this time, there never seemed any use in collecting them here, although I'm sure you'd like to have the use of this room and the things in it when they're no good to me any more."

Frodo wasn't sure what to say, so he just thanked Bilbo quietly but couldn't be certain whether or not Bilbo heard because he had returned to searching through papers in the box and didn't look up.

"These poems are for Elrond, and there are some letters, you'll have to speak to Gandalf about sending them, but I'm sure he knows a way of getting them back across the sea. Here's one for Lobelia, I thought I should try to settle our quarrel since we're both getting far too old for such things. Although I did allow myself to enclose an elvish spoon for her collection, it doesn't do to get too serious however old you are…"

"Bilbo, Lobelia's dead."

Bilbo looked slightly taken aback, but recovered himself quickly. "Yes, so she is, perhaps we could send it to Lotho, he might appreciate the joke, but no, he's dead too isn't he?"

"Yes, he is, sorry."

"You've nothing to be sorry for; there was a time not so long ago that we would have almost been pleased to see the end of the S.B's. Well, here's one for the Dunadan, I'm sure he's not dead quite yet. And I'm sure he would have wanted to know how I finished that song about Earendil - that's one I won't be passing on to Elrond, anyway.

"And here's the letter I wrote to Meriadoc, and yes, one for young Peregrin, too. And I'm sure I have something here that I intended to give to Sam, although I do believe I must have misplaced it – it was the last of Smaug's gold, could you check for it in the writing table, it must be here somewhere."

"I thought you had already given it to him, in Rivendell, don't you remember?"

"Yes, yes, I did, didn't I? Now for his letter, would you believe it, I spent so long worrying about what I had done with the gold that I quite forgot to write it. I'm losing my marbles even faster than I thought, whatever must you think of me Frodo? Could you fetch the pen and paper from the table and you don't mind if I dictate it do you? I'm feeling rather tired and I'd like to get this done."

"Of course, Bilbo."

"Thank you, now, we'll get started. No, that's the kettle boiling, if you would just pour the tea, I'll sit here a moment and collect my thoughts." Bilbo closed his eyes. "You gave my book to Sam to finish, didn't you?"

"Yes, I did."

"Good. Yes, I remember now."

Frodo was never sure afterwards if he did hear a small sigh or if it was just the water splashing into the teapot, but when he turned round to set it on the table Bilbo seemed to have fallen asleep. Frodo had become used to this over the last few years, but today something seemed different, so what he discovered when he lifted Bilbo's hand, gently, as if afraid he might wake him, and pressed two fingers to his wrist hardly even surprised him.