Word count: 100
Character: Bilbo, post-quest
Disclaimer: Tolkien's, etc.
Author's Notes: This is a bit grim, and some may find it quite AU, but I credit Tolkien with giving Bilbo a considerable lack of psychological insight when it came to his young charge.
‘What became of my Ring, Frodo, that you took away?’
He spoke with benign confusion; a sleepy, mumbly existence designed to fool all -- especially Frodo -- his cousin, his nephew, child of his heart. It was cowardice that allowed lighthearted indifference to exile the word son. And as he fled into the night years ago leaving Bag End behind, he now escaped into a charade of senility. Far better than facing Frodo’s empty eyes, or his own culpability.
“I have lost it, Bilbo dear…’
Yes… the loss of the Ring was painful.
But the loss of his still-living child…?