Written for the There and Back Again "Four Loves" challenge: #3--Love of Family.
Bilbo looks into the room next to his own to see the lad lying there, deeply asleep. Frodo lies on his right side, his right arm outstretched, his left arm folded over his chest. His brow is lightly furrowed, as if he is thinking deeply on some question as he dreams. His hair is briefly ruffled by a breeze that has slipped in through the open window, bearing with it the odor of the pinks and lilacs blooming in the garden.
A book lies open on the bed by him--the book of insects sent Frodo by way of Rivendell from another Elven land said to lie east of the Misty Mountains and far to the south. Bilbo isn’t certain precisely why the folk of a land he’d never visited had felt moved to answer his request to Master Elrond for such a book, but he has been grateful to them many times for it since the day he first found it in the parcel delivered to him by Gandalf.
He looks forward to the day when he might see Gandalf once again and proudly show off his dear boy, this son of his heart. He is sorry Drogo and Primula are not here to see how wonderful a Hobbit their son is growing into, but again vows in the depths of his heart to do well by him, particularly as Frodo has come full circle again back to Hobbiton and the Hill. He was born here, down on the Row; now he’s returned to stay, Bilbo hopes for the rest of what should be a blessedly long, delightful life.
“I never married,” he whispers, “so never thought to have a lad of my own. But you, our star-kissed child--from the first time I saw you, lying in your father’s arms I’ve loved you as if you were my own. And now you are. For your father’s sake and your mother’s sake I would have loved you. For Esme and Sara’s sake I would have loved you. For your grandparents’ sakes I would have loved you! But now it is for your own blessed sake that I love you, that I rejoice to call you my dear boy!”
Another whisper of air rejoices to bring the fresh, spicy scent of pinks into the room and brush Frodo’s cheek, and the lad stirs--just a little, enough to appreciate the scents of the garden. The lines smooth away, and he smiles. About him the starlight falls, and a delightful pain tugs at the older Hobbit’s heart.
“Welcome home, my dear Frodo-lad,” Bilbo murmurs as he bends to gently kiss the dark curls.