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Into the West  by Dreamflower

(Written in 2011 for great_tales community's Challenge 012:   The villain shocks everybody by doing one completely selfless thing.)

Title: An Unexpected Gift
Rating: G
Fandom:   The Lord of the Rings
Summary: The villain shocks everybody by doing one completely selfless thing.
Author's Notes:   This story is a sidebar to the story "The Prisoner and the Hobbit", which I am co-writing with pandemonium_213.  More about this at the end of the story, to avoid a spoiler.
Word Count: 446

An Unexpected Gift

"Gandalf!" Bilbo exclaimed. "You are just in time for tea!"

"Are there honeycakes?" His old friend asked, a twinkle of anticipation in his eye.

"Indeed there are!"

"In that case, I would be glad to stay for tea!  Where is Frodo?"

"He has gone down to the beach with Elrond, and with Lady Celebrian and Lady Galadriel.  I do not expect him to keep close track of the time."

Gandalf nodded; Frodo loved the beach and spent at least a part of most of his days since their arrival in the West on the beach, alone or in company.  "I have brought something for you," he said starting to reach into his robes. 

"Another letter already?  I have not even begun my reply to the last one!"

"No, not a letter," Gandalf answered.  He laid a package upon the table. It was flattish and rectangular, and Bilbo thought it was perhaps too large for Gandalf to have been carrying about in his breast pocket, but he had learned much about his old friend in the time since they had arrived in Tol Eressëa.  He carefully did not remark upon his observation, but picked the package up. From the heft of it, it could only be one thing.

"A book?"

Gandalf chuckled and sat down, taking out his pipe.  "Open it and see."

Bilbo drew off the string and the paper.  It was a good-sized book, bound in blue leather.  Embossed in gold around the edges of the front cover were strange letters—at least that is what he took them for, though he'd never seen any like them before.  In the center, also in gold embossing, were letters in Westron: "Tales from the East".  Tucked into the front corner was a folded paper.  He opened it and read:

"My Dear Mr. Baggins,

Having heard from both you and from Olórin of the traditions attendant upon the Yule season in your homeland, I hope you do not find it presumptuous of me to send you this gift.  

These are traditional tales of the great empire in the far East of Endorë, known as Kitai.  I have translated them for you, and Olórin was able to have them bound into this book. 

I hope that you will accept it, and that it will give you as much pleasure as your correspondence has given to me this past year.

Sincerely yours,
D.L. Sauron


End Notes: The Prisoner and the Hobbit is a WIP collaboration between pandemonium_213. and myself.  It takes place in the "Pandë!verse", in which Sauron survives the Ring's destruction in a much diminished state, and is delivered by Gandalf/Olórin to the Valar for judgment.  He is re-embodied and imprisoned in Mandos with Gandalf placed in charge of his rehabilitation.  And he and Bilbo Baggins strike up a correspondence.

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