Farewell We Call to Hearth and Hall

by Dandy

I awoke in Bag End; a chill was in the air. I looked out the window. The darkness still covered The Shire, morning had not arrived yet, but the eastern sky was lightening even as I watched. My last morning, today was the day, no more waiting, no more wool gathering. Gandalf had not appeared and tonight we would be gone. I wandered through my Hobbit hole. Everything seemed disheveled, and so out of place, I silently touched the pieces to be left behind. Memories of youth, of home, and mostly of Bilbo. I paused at Bilbo's desk. I had no room at Crickhollow for some of the larger pieces. The desk and matching chair was one of these. I ran my fingers lovingly over the chair; memories of Bilbo's final days at Bag End filled my head, feverishly writing, either in his book, or in response to all those invitations he sent out for the Birthday party.

I pulled the chair out and sat down. The cushion molded itself around me and I sighed in pleasure. I too spend an incredible amount of time at this desk, in this chair. Rolling back the top of the desk, a bit of sorrow touched my heart; I had never seen it look so empty. No scraps of paper lay about it, no candles, it was full of emptiness. I ran my fingers over the top. There was the place I had carved my name into the desk. I had been bored with the elvish lessons that day, and wished to be outside in the sunshine. It was carved alongside Bilbo's own. His was preceded by a date. The date Bilbo had returned from his journey to Lonely Mountain. Tears filled my eyes. I do not think I will be able to carve a return date into the desk. I opened the drawers a final time. Not as empty as I first thought. It was still full, of memories.

The first drawer, this is the one where Bilbo and I kept all the important papers. Bilbo's final will, my adoption paper, our family trees, our birth certificates. I chuckled. The small sketch I had drawn of Bilbo when I was a child, and my first poem. Funny that Bilbo had put those into this drawer, too. The deed to Bag End had been kept in there too, but Lobelia had insisted that I give that to her yesterday evening, along with one of the keys, I had not the heart, nor the energy to fight with her, she will be sure to insist on an inventory today too. The thought of Bilbo's desk in her hands caused a pain in my heart. I slid that drawer shut and opened another.

This one I opened a bit more cautiously, after the drawer was opened, I lay its broken pieces in my lap. This is the first thing she will fix. This was always kept empty, after that day. Bilbo had broken this drawer in a fit of anger, a rare occurrence that was. I had stayed many times at Bag End with Bilbo in my youth, and one day I had been caught, pilfering apples from Mr. Proudfoot's orchards. Bilbo was mighty put out with me, and while he was berating me for my actions, he tried to open this drawer, but it had stuck on something, and refused to budge. After several minutes, with increasing frustration Bilbo finally got the drawer open with a huge pull, the contents spilled out onto the floor, and he was quite irritated. He threw the drawer across the room. It hit the wall with a crash and the broken pieces fell to the floor in a clatter. I can still remember the sound. The change in his mood came rather sudden and he calmed down when he realized what he had done. He picked up the now empty drawer and haphazardly put it back together. We never fixed it. For us it became a tool. When anger threatened to strike we would open the drawer, sit and look at the pieces and remember the price that must be paid for anger. Most times we decided it was too high of a price. I reassembled the drawer and slid it back into its place.

The next drawer was the one that held the bottles of ink. I pulled that one out, closed my eyes and held it up to my nose. I breathed in. Yes, I could still smell it. I had accidentally dumped over an open bottle of ink in here. That was after Bilbo had left and I was still a bit clueless on cleaning up stains. I tried cleaning it the best I could, but could never get rid of the stain, or the ink smell left behind. I laughed outloud now in memory this time. It took me a long time to get the ink off my fingers from trying to clean up the drawer, well until Sam's mum suggested I use lemons to wash my fingers with. I thought she was joking but tried it anyways. She was correct, as usual. So many little drawers, that one held my toy dwarf soldiers that Balin had sent to me. That one, the endless supply of quills, and that one, once held my boyhood collection of rocks. I slid it open, now it was empty, except for the rock dust that was embedded into its crevices.

So many little drawers, so many memories, daylight broke through the eastern window. A knock sounded at the door. That would be Lobelia with her list. I rolled close the top of the desk.

So little time.