Who thought holidays could be more stressful than the months I have to attend college? Strangely, I find myself having no time to do the things I want to finish and having all the time in the world to complete TV series in record time during my semesters. Another example of time being a vindictive creature, I suppose. Putting aside selfish concerns for a bit, I decided to write something, anything, to take my mind off of things. Here is the result (Incidentally, it fits this week’s Friday Fiction with Ronovan Writes Prompt Challenge #33 – Favourite Food).
Two is Company
Note: This is a fanfiction piece set in the Shire, Middle Earth between the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings (TA 2989). Special thanks to The One Wiki to Rule Them All as it saved me from going through all the Appendices again (not that it isn’t fun to do that). It also has a different narrative tone because I cannot imitate the genius of Tolkien.
Bilbo sank into his comfortable armchair with a glass of new wine that Ham Gamgee had sent for his consideration. His pipe was in his other hand and he meant to have a puff of Southfarthing’s finest before he retired to bed. A plate of honey cakes sat on the table beside him, already half empty from the trip between the cellar to the drawing room. Every bite and sip took him farther and farther away from his hobbit hole until he was wandering by the side of Beorn, Gandalf and his twelve Dwarvish companions in Mirkwood, plodding along to a walking song he had composed. A knock on the door made him sit up and take notice of his surroundings. He set aside his glass and his fingers immediately slipped into his waistcoat pocket. He wasn’t expecting anybody at this hour.
He went to one of the round windows and looked out. A young tween stood at the porch, dressed in a travelling cloak with the hood on. His round face seemed familiar but there was too little light to say for sure. With his anxiety a little soothed, Bilbo opened the door. The smiling face of Primula’s orphaned son, Frodo, peeked out from under the hood.
“Good evening, uncle.” His words were slightly slurred.
“Come in, my boy. Stopped by The Ivy Bush before coming here, eh?” Bilbo teased as he ushered his nephew in.
Frodo gave a small, nervous laugh in response. “It got later than I expected and I didn’t want to set off to Buckland at this hour. I hope it’s not an inconvenience.”
“Of course not, lad. Did you have any supper? Try some of this honey cake – it’s a special recipe.” Bilbo held out the plate, which had only two little cakes left, his face slightly flushed with embarrassment.
“Thank you,” Frodo muttered, taking both. Bilbo’s eyes twinkled. If it had been any other young hobbit, he would have hesitated to share.
They spent the next hour conversing about the goings-on of the four Farthings and the rumours from Bree. Bilbo brought out a plate of buttered scones and the conversation stopped when they ran out of them.
“I suppose it is bedtime for you, young Frodo,” Bilbo said, getting up and putting away the empty plates.
“I’m not very sleepy, Uncle Bilbo. In fact, I thought I might go for a walk down Bagshot Row before bed.”
Bilbo’s eyes lit up. “Yes, I fancied going on one myself. I’ll get my coat and we can be off.”
The night was old by the time they got back. They had been much farther than the Bagshot Row and had lost track of time. They bade each other good night and were sound asleep till mid-morning.
“Uncle, it’s almost time for elevensies.” Bilbo woke with a start, breathing hard. He was so used to waking up on his own time by himself that the presence of Frodo in his bedroom startled him.
“I’ll be there in a minute. Be a good lad and put some tea on, would you?” Bilbo asked as he rubbed the sleep from his eyes. His stomach rumbled. He had already missed two meals of the day. By the time he got to the dining room, there was already a platter of food waiting for him at the table, a beaming Frodo seated at one end. He smiled back, but no words were exchanged before the last morsel disappeared down Bilbo’s throat.
“It will be lunch time soon. I must get going -” Frodo began, but was cut off by his uncle.
“Would you mind staying a bit longer, Frodo? There’s a rather special book I’ve been meaning to show you and there are lots of nice places to go walking around in Hobbiton.”
Frodo hesitated. He had a comfortable life in Buckland and he missed his cousins and friends already. However, he felt a strangely compelled to stay. His uncle was an odd hobbit, but Frodo learnt a lot in his company. He didn’t want Uncle Bilbo to get mad at him for refusing his offer.
“Thank you, Uncle Bilbo, I’d love to.” Little did he know that Bag End was about to become his home in the weeks to come.
Anyone else likes honey cakes? If you have a good eggless recipe, let me know. I’ve been dying to try it out! Hopefully I can make it in time to celebrate 100 WordPress followers (currently at 96). Any LoTR fangirls/fanboys out there? What did you think of this little story? All thoughts are appreciated over at the comments section.