AN: This was written because of a prompt I saw on Tumblr that made me cry and wail for a good few minutes before I actually thought about writing it. Oh, and since Frodo is actually Bilbo's cousin, not nephew, that's what I'll be referring to him as. And also as a delay for chapter nine of my story Art of War and Words because I don't have it done yet. ^_^'
DISCLAIMER: I don't own LOTR or the Hobbit.
Many years had passed since Bilbo's own adventure. His life's end was near; he could feel the energy seeping out of his body. But he had to do this; for Frodo. The boy had been through so much these past few years. The burden he had been forced to bear was gone from this world, but so was his cousin's spirit. The wounds of Frodo's journey plagued him like a disease, eating away his life as others moved on. All of his friends had families now, while he sat alone in their little Hobbit hole, watching the days pass by in a gray blur.
So when Gandalf the White paid them a visit, with an offer they couldn't refuse, it was with great relief and sorrow that they left the boundaries of the Shire for the last time. The green, rolling hills waved goodbye in the afternoon breeze, flowers bowing in the wind as if to show their gratitude. If not for the boy at Bilbo's side, nothing of the world would be left. The beauty of their home was a testament to his good deeds, though the memories of friends falling and cities burning were still etched into the young Halfling's mind wherever he went.
Gandalf waited for them at the borders, where a carriage was waiting, bless his soul. After the Ring had been passed to his cousin, Bilbo's age finally caught up with him. His back ached and hunched, his knees and hips creaked when he walked and his knobby, shaky hands gripped the cane tight so he wouldn't fall over. The prolonged days of youth and good health were now behind him, and at one hundred and thirty-one years old, he felt as if his life was nearing its end.
But as he thought back on all that he had done, it was not a sad thought, to think of dying. Gandalf had told him once that 'death was just another path, one that all must take'. That was true, and Bilbo had lived a full enough life to not be spiteful or angry about it. In fact, he would welcome death at this point. Frodo needed him, and he needed Frodo, which was why they decided to go to the Undying Lands with Gandalf, Lord Elrond and Lady Galadriel. They would do this together.
The carriage glided smoothly over the gravelly, bumpy road to Rivendell. There, they would set off on a ship to the Undying Lands, watching as their last view of the human, mortal world drifted out of sight. The thought alone had Bilbo relaxing and slouching against his cousin in peace.
"Frodo?" he asked quietly, one last question on his mind before he drifted into a fitful sleep.
"Is there any chance of seeing my old Ring again? The one I gave you?" If Bilbo had been more awake, he might have realized how Frodo stiffened. In his old age, the true identity of the Ring had slipped, as well as what exactly his cousin had done to save the world from a horrendous death. Nothing was ever certain anymore in his mind; it was all drifting off and blurry at best.
"I'm sorry, uncle. I'm afraid I lost it." Bilbo smiled at the endearment Frodo used for him; they had always had more of a nephew-uncle, father-son relationship than that of cousins.
"Oh, a shame. I would have liked to have held it again. One last time."
They reached the city of elves quickly, the travelling paths now clear of Orcs and goblins since darkness had lost the battle over Middle Earth. Frodo helped his old cousin out of the carriage and into the city, where they were led to the dock of the bay, a boat awaiting them.
The beautiful Lady Galadriel glowed in the fading light of sunset, her golden hair like a halo about her head, her smile a warm welcome. Lord Elrond followed suit and smiled, but a hint of sadness was about him that hadn't left after his daughter Arwen chose the mortal path.
To everyone's great surprise, Sam, Pippin and Merry met them there, sharing their goodbye with dear Frodo. Tears were shed and Frodo gave the book of his family's adventures to his closest friend.
"There's room for a little more." They embraced before he turned and faced Gandalf, who was standing next to Bilbo. All smiled at the young Hobbit, his eyes light. He was ready to depart from this world once and for all.
They boarded the boat and sailed off into the never-ending bay, which would lead them to the Undying Lands they sought. Frodo watched the forms of his friends fade until he could see them no more. Bilbo grasped his shoulder reassuringly before they sat down on a bench and fell asleep leaning against one another.
When Bilbo woke, he felt different. More invigorated and healthy. He no longer had the urge to lie down and close his eyes just for a minute, and his joints didn't ache. Frodo gasped when he opened his eyes to the sight of his cousin. Bilbo lifted up a hand and marveled at the lightly tanned skin, age marks and wrinkles gone. Fingers reached up and pulled at the reddish-brown curls of hair now adorning his head. With a laugh of new life, he ran over and leaned over the edge of the boat, looking at his reflection in the water.
"The journey to the Undying Lands returns us the age at which we truly lived and were happy," Gandalf explained. Bilbo looked exactly as he had ninety years ago, as young as the day he set off with thirteen dwarfs and a wizard to reclaim a kingdom. The two Hobbits danced and laughed with each other, Bilbo embracing the younger, utterly mystified and ecstatic at this new revelation.
But all sounds quieted at once when eyes turned to the shore now visible in front of them. Sandy white beaches led the way to large stone buildings. The sunlight gave everything an ethereal glow, and the Hobbits stared in wonder as they docked.
Disembarking the vessel, Bilbo wandered around, looking at the great city. Before, Rivendell was perhaps the loveliest thing he had ever seen. But this was far more extravagant then the city of elves in the mortal realm. This was utterly magical.
As Frodo and Bilbo explored, they split paths, passing gardens and other elves, men and dwarfs. As he was staring into a valley of light leading to who knows where, a sound made him twirl about. Two figures stood in front of him, about a foot taller than he, covered in leather and chainmail but no weapons. Wide grins split all three faces as the eyes of old friends left.
"And Kili!" they bowed.
Bilbo rushed forward to be swept up into two pairs of strong arms.
"At your service."
I was originally going to make Bilbo die and that was what he first heard when he got to heaven or whatever, but I don't think I could be that cruel. This kind of just wrote itself. I love the thought of all members of the company being reunited in the Undying Lands, because it isn't just for elves or heroes.
Let me know what you think!