Many thanks to the Lizard Council for their nitpicking. Originally written for the prompt 'Tea and Sympathy' in fic_promptly on DW.
My dear Bilbo, the unexpected letter read, and Bilbo turned it over in his hands. The writing undoubtedly was Gandalf's, and somehow the script looked as bristly as the old wizard's beard. Bilbo chuckled to himself and drained his mug of tea, smacking his lips as he read.
Let me thank you once again for your splendid work on our recent adventure. I am hoping it left you with the necessary capacities to do battle with dragons on your own if it is required: Last I heard, the Sackville-Bagginses' ire of at being denied Bag End was spoken of even among the gentlehobbits of Bree; tongues there are wagging about a curious case of missing silver spoons. Much like Smaug, I daresay, it was indeed your dear Lobelia who pocketed the first valuable thing she laid eyes on during your absence, therefore I am sending you this warning. Do
let the Sackville-Bagginses into your house in any case now that you have returned, or if you do it despite my warnings (as I know you will eventually; relatives will only be put off for so long), keep your ring and chainmail coat well-hidden. They would inspire even a less greedy Hobbit to theft and malice, and that indeed would make the Smaug-ness of your relative complete (even with the jewel-encrusted and impenetrable body of the dragon!), and without a Bard the Bowman of your own. Not that I would advocate that, do not misunderstand me. At any rate, you have my sympathy. I am hoping the letter finds you well and largely unaffected by their draconic efforts to make your life miserable. Once you finished the letter, be so kind as to brew a fresh pot of tea and open the door. You can do so quite without danger.
Gandalf the Grey
Bilbo laughed away the minor irritation that the wizard had mentioned his ring, and fished for his teacup again, finding it empty. Shrugging, he rose and did as Gandalf had asked in his letter. He had only just finished filling the teapot, and was only half-expecting the knock on his front door when it came. Even less, though, he expected what happened the next morning. After something of a lie-in after first breakfast, Bilbo came to the kitchen to find Gandalf gone again, undoubtedly on some magic business of tremendous importance, but in his place on the table rested a beautiful silver spoon.
The note attached to it read: The first of many.