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This was written for the Five Things challenge at fic_inspiration. Warning: This would be AU and have character deaths IF it ever happened...which none of it ever did...thank goodness...
FIVE THINGS THAT *NEVER* HAPPENED TO BILBO BAGGINS…
Old Holman Greenhand finished putting a bit of mulch around the spring bedding plants he had placed in the flowerbeds near Bag End’s front entrance. He stood up and brushed his hands on the back of his breeches, and stood back to admire the effect. His eyes narrowed, and he shook his head angrily.
“Hoy, Hamfast!” he called his apprentice. “Hamfast Gamgee!”
The tweenager came running at his master’s call, leaving the clippers he had been using on the hedge.
“Yes, sir?” he asked.
“Someone’s been and scratched up the new paint on Mr. Bilbo’s front door!” He snorted crossly, and gestured to the marks on the fresh paint. “Why some people have to be so impatient, I can’t imagine! Mr. Bilbo would be right put out to see that. Go and fetch the little jar of green paint that was left over from when we painted it this last month, and touch those scratches up!”
“Yes, sir, Master Holman,” and he ran to do as he was bid.
The hiss was close behind him. He turned now and saw Gollum’s eyes like small green lamps coming up the slope. Terrified he tried to run faster, but suddenly he struck his toes on a snag in the floor, and fell down flat with his little sword under him.* His hands flung outward as he fell, trying to catch himself, and suddenly the little ring flew from his finger.
The Gollum creature came to a sudden halt, with a nasty hiss. “Tricksy little thief. There you are!” With a shriek of rage he fell upon Bilbo, who scarcely had a chance to even move.
The last thing Bilbo felt were Gollum’s strong fingers around his throat.
Leaving the body of the hobbit where it lay, Gollum turned, and picked up the ring. “There you are, my preciouss, my own,” he hissed softly stroking the ring fondly, and then cackled as he placed it on his own finger. “Trickssy preciouss, thought you would escape uss,” he said as he winked out.
He took Bilbo’s body by one heel and began to drag it back towards his lake. No need to waste food.
* From The Hobbit Chapter V, “Riddles in the Dark”
Bilbo stood with the other family members in the gloomy Buckland rain. Funerals were always dismal, and this one more than most. The deaths were so pointless, the lives, snuffed out so young--the River ever treacherous had exacted a great price. Things would never be the same again. This would be his last trip to Buckland, for it no longer held anything of value to him.
He watched, breathless, as the three coffins were lowered into the ground, and heard Mirabella’s shriek of grief as the smallest, little Frodo’s, followed his parents’.
With legs weak from hunger, Bilbo continued to move. He had to keep ahead of the goblins. Sting was glowing. He sheathed it, and put on the ring. How long had it been since his companions had all been slain? He was sure he had been wandering these dismal tunnels for days on end. Shuddering in pain and sorrow, he remembered their valiant efforts to fight the goblins, and the blood and the pain and the death. Far worse, it was, than the Battle of Five Armies.
Why had he ever thought he could have another Adventure at his age? He had been making plans; he had thought to bring his orphaned cousin, young Frodo to live with him at Bag End. He had, he believed, finally been settled in the Shire, and no longer troubled with the Tookish urge to wander.
How long could he keep this up? He was no longer anywhere near a place where he could find food. Perhaps letting the goblins find him would be a quicker death than starvation, for he no longer held out any hope of emerging from these dark holes alive. And even if he could find food, what kind of existence would he have? He remembered the Gollum creature, skulking in the dark; a cold cheerless existence, simply surviving from one miserable dark day to the next. How long would it take him until he himself became like that sad, mad creature?
If only, he thought, I had not listened when Balin came, and asked me to join him in his expedition to Moria…
“…It is a frightful nuisance. When ought I to start?”
Boromir looked in surprise at Bilbo, but the laughter died on his lips when he saw that all the others regarded the old hobbit with grave respect. Only Gloín smiled, but his smile came from old memories.*
Gandalf looked at him sadly. The cheery voice was forced, and the pain on the old hobbits’ face was plain. But the offer was sincere, and no one had more reason to wish to strike a blow against the Enemy than this valiant old hobbit. Gandalf had had great hopes for young Frodo; but the Morgul-blade had been too much for him, and his life had ebbed away even as Elrond sought to save it.
“Of course, my dear Bilbo. You did not, you know, really start this, as you have heard. But you have as much right as any to help in finishing it. I can think of no one more worthy than one who has proven once before that he can, at will, give up this thing.”
* From The Fellowship of the Ring Book II, Chapter II, “The Council of Elrond”
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