Thump, thump, thump.
‘Not again,’ Bilbo thought as he lurched his way out of his entirely comfortable armchair and slowly made his way towards the front door of the smial. Bag End had seen far too many visitors since that day several weeks before when he’d returned home to find himself in the midst of an auction. Most of the things that had already been sold or claimed by relatives had made their way back into his possession, though there were a few mathoms that were still missing.
Besides returning his belongings, however, he’d also had what felt like the entire Shire come by his home. Ostensibly just ‘dropping in for tea,’ most of his visitors were shameless gossips who wanted to know where he’d been. In between scolding him for running off and worrying everyone, they tried their best to spy the ‘treasures’ that he’d supposedly brought back from far away.
Fortunately, most of the older hobbits who came to call followed the tradition of bringing food along with their visit. Otherwise, the small stock he’d acquired since his return would be running extremely low.
When he recognized his visitor, his immediate response was to say “nope,” and start shutting the door.
“Wait.” Lobelia Sackville-Baggins nee Bracegirdle lunged forward to stop Bilbo.
Balked of his ability to shut the door, Bilbo folded his arms across his chest, tapped one foot on the flagstone floor, and growled. “What do you want, Lobelia? Haven’t you caused enough trouble already?”
She puffed herself up in a huff. “It’s not my fault that you left without making arrangements…” then she trailed off.
“I’m sorry. I promised myself that I would do this right but here I am again, trying to justify my actions. Lobelia straightened her skirts, squared her feet, and spoke again, this time in a clear, carrying tone.
“Master Bilbo Baggins of Bag End, I am here to offer sincere apologies on behalf of my family for the damages done to your estate and person due to our actions in claiming the estate prematurely. As a token of my words, I come bearing gifts.”
She reached behind her and pulled out a large basket full of supplies: Canned food to restock his pantry, bottles of elderberry wine from her father’s Bracegirdle cellar, a freshly backed packet of raspberry scones, and, most significant, a collection of silver utensils and other small knick-knacks. These were items from Bag End that had made their way into her possession over the years, including a framed sketch of Bag End, as drawn by Bungo Baggins during the planning stages of its construction. It was this last item, which finally unbent Bilbo’s stubborn intransigence.
“Fine,” he humphed. “Come on in, Lobelia, won’t you join me for tea.”
“Thank you,” she replied grandly and followed him inside.
As the door shut behind her, a number of eavesdropping young hobbit faunts ran off to spread the word of the latest excitement up at Bag End. Meanwhile, others settled in to wait, hoping for further excitement down the road.