Disclaimer: Tolkien owns the Hobbits, not me. Of course if I did own them.well, we won't go there! *VBEG*

Story Notes: This is my second attempt at a Lord of the Rings story. All these "chapters" are very short. NO INTENDED SLASH! I know it's bound to come up, so I thought I'd nip it in the bud. This story is no more slashy than the books. If you want to take it as Slash for some reason, that's up to you. It was not written as such.

Feedback: PLEASE, PLEASE give feedback! I would very much enjoy a deep, thoughtful commentary, but a simple "I enjoyed it!" would be appreciated too!

Chapter 1: The Absent-Minded Wanderer

*What a silly thing to do,* Frodo scolded himself silently. *Of all the times to go walking in an unfamiliar area!*

Bilbo had been gone for a few weeks now, and it was just starting to sink in that Frodo might never see him again. He had gone from room to room in Bag End, trying to find something to distract his thoughts, but everything reminded him of Bilbo. He had to get away before it drove him mad. It had been lightly snowing when Frodo had left Bag End. He had bumped into Sam on the road, and his friend had offered to walk with him. Frodo had wanted to accept, but all he could think of was how Sam loved to listen to Bilbo's stories.

Frodo, having gone into the woods, had taken a path through it that he couldn't remember taking before. The snow started coming down harder, but Frodo barely noticed. Later, upon reflecting on the choices he made, Frodo admitted to himself that he should have turned back when it started to snow harder still, but at the time he hadn't been thinking straight.

Frodo walked down the path until he spotted on the left through the swirling snow, not far away, a wide frozen stream with a log across it. The snow was really coming down now, but the unfamiliarity of the other side of the stream fascinated the hobbit. Frodo's mind was no longer clear. He was so distressed by his loss that his thoughts were completely jumbled up, but one strong feeling burned inside him. The desire to forget, and thereby lose his pain.

Frodo crossed the stream by way of the log and wandered aimlessly for a short time before sitting down on a large, flat rock. He sighed and looked around him. He could barely see through the snow, and he realized how cold he was. He stood up and squinted, searching for a sign of the stream he had crossed. It did lie in that direction.didn't it?