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The Purple Path  by Dreamflower

B2MeM Prompt and Path: The Purple Path; prompt, quote on insomnia below (Square 4)
Format: ficlet
Genre: vignette
Rating: G
Warnings: n/a
Characters: Bilbo Baggins
Pairings: n/a
Creator’s Notes (optional): none
Summary: Bilbo spends a sleepless night in literary endeavor.

The Advantages of Insomnia

“That’s the advantage of insomnia. People who go to bed early always complain the night is too short, but for those of us who stay up all night, it can feel as long as a lifetime. You get a lot done.”
-Banana Yoshimoto

Bilbo padded into the little kitchen of his quarters in the Last Homely House, and made himself a cup of peppermint tea. While he was at it, he picked a out a few sweet biscuits from the crock where they were kept, and put them on a plate. He carried them into his dim sitting room. The only light was the banked fire in the hearth and the starlight peeking through the window above his desk.

When he had begun to feel wakeful in the night, at first he had tried various methods of putting himself to sleep. Counting backwards from a thousand didn't work, it just confused him when he began to lose track. Chamomile tea, once a very effective sleep aid, no longer seemed to help much either. He had consulted Elrond about it.

"Sadly, Bilbo," the Elf had said, "I have learned that this insomnia is very common to mortals who are up in years for their kind. I can give you a sleeping draught, but those can be dangerous if you rely on them for too long."

Since there was no one for him to disturb at night--most of the Elves did not sleep anyway--Bilbo had decided to simply make use of his time. Some nights, he simply stayed in the Hall of Fire all night, like many of the Elves did. But most of the time he would go to bed. There were nights when he even fell asleep and stayed that way. But most nights he would drift off only to waken after an hour or two and could never get back to sleep.

Some nights he lay awake in his bed and reminisced about the Shire, wondering how Frodo was, and whether Bag End was faring well. Other nights he would remember his journeys and his friends. Other nights, like this one, he would arise and put on his shabby dressing gown, get something to eat, and work on a project. He often worked on his poetry, but not always.

Tonight he took his midnight nibbles to the teatable in his sitting room, and lit the lamps. On the table were some of the books he'd borrowed from Elrond's library, his notes on translation and a notebook. He pulled the lantern closer and picked up the silverpoint stylus he used when making notes. He was working on The Lay of Leithien. He had begun his translation shortly after he had observed the Dúnadan with the Evenstar. The parallels were obvious, even to his mortal eyes, and he wished to honor them with this one day.

The problem, of course, was that Westron seemed such a dull and pedestrian language in comparison to the original. Still, he was not going to give up. That insufferable elf Lindir looked down his nose, thinking Bilbo had outrageous cheek to even think of such a task.

He took up his notes and began to compare the words. Perhaps shorter words would scan better here. "Beautiful" was more accurate, but "fair" fit better with the rhythm he had begun to establish...

He began to write, his tea cooling and his last biscuit lay half-eaten on the plate as he scribbled away, scrawling rhymes in the margins of the page as he sought the best words.

By the time Dawn showed it's face through his window, he stretched and yawned. He had needed an adjective, and having rejected "slender", "graceful" and "limber", had wavered between "lithesome" and "lissom", finally settled on the latter. Perhaps it was a good place to stop.

He stood up. Time to get dressed; he could go down to the kitchen and get a first breakfast--the loaves would be fresh out of the oven right now. Indeed. He would have breakfast and then come back to his room for a little nap before second breakfast...

Yes, he'd made a lot of headway. Perhaps the nighttime was the best time to be writing of Elves beneath the stars. It was just as well he couldn't sleep.    





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