A/N: I was inspired to write this from my Psychology class at college. Our professor was talking about post traumatic stress disorder, and how children who experience traumatic events should be given choices of what they want to do or what they want to eat in everyday life to be given a semblance of control. That remark birthed a whole lot of plot bunnies, several of which you will find in this story. The rating is for abusive situations, some torture, and Dwarvish cursing.
Bilbo Baggins was normally an even-minded fellow, good in tight situations and not easily rattled by the unexpected. Or at least he was now, but he supposed he should be after all the Orcs, Goblins, Wargs, and battles he had faced. "War chokes out the cowards and emboldens the true" was a saying an old friend had once told him during his Adventure, and Bilbo supposed that that made him "true".
But Bilbo Baggins was terrified now. He could feel his fingers trembling uncontrollably and his mouth was completely dry. His heart was being squeezed by panic, and worst of all he could do nothing about it.
'… we have taken your kinsman to ensure that we will not be followed. If you value his sanity and his life you would do well not to follow us.'
Ruffians had taken his Frodo, his own sweet Shireling, his son in all but blood. They had taken Frodo, and it was because of that that Bilbo knew they had signed their own death warrant. More than fear, Bilbo felt simple, choking rage that that these cowardly Men would dare threaten the one thing dearest to him, and it was only of the threat on his nephew's life that kept the Baggins from grabbing Sting from the wall and chasing after them.
They would pay. They would pay dearly.
But first he had to think this through, even if his fear made it difficult. He could not afford to rush blindly and thoughtlessly into this, after all—not with Frodo's life at stake.
He had been targeted for something. That could be the only logical explanation for this—why else would Men enter the always-peaceful Shire and kidnap his nephew and leave a note specifically for him? He just didn't know why he was being targeted now. He had no information to go on, nothing to even question a starting point, so he would have to rely on what he did know.
What he did know was that a crudely-made arrow had buried itself into the side of Bag End's door as he stood outside, with this single sheet of coarse paper curled around it. And with it was a single tuft of soft brown hair that Bilbo would know anywhere.
He shouldn't have allowed Frodo to go off by himself, but he had never thought that there could be any danger in allowing his nephew to go explore. It was a normal habit for Frodo to go off by himself, walking down through Hobbiton or through the woods. He was twenty-two after all, well capable of caring for himself during a short walk.
It seemed he had been mistaken.
But none of that mattered now. What mattered was the plan he had to make to get Frodo back. Only after his nephew was safe again would he try to figure out the ruffians' ultimate plan.
But he would need help. He couldn't face fully-grown Men by himself, he wasn't that blinded by desperation. One hobbit couldn't hope to succeed, but he could not even convince himself that any of his neighbors would join him in his search. None would think to journey beyond the boundaries of the Shire, especially with one who they already thought cracked. So who-?
But then he realized that he could ask someone. He had not thought about writing to Thorin Oakenshield for several years—not after the events with the Arkenstone—but he needed help. The Dwarves of Erebor could possibly be the only hope he had. He would write a letter and send it as quickly as it could to the Lonely Mountain and then set out. He knew that if Thorin choose to respond to his plea the Dwarf would find him even in the Wild.
He could only pray that Thorin had forgiven him. If not, he feared that his nephew would be welcoming an early grave.