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Bilbo is glad to be sitting down when he reads the letter that he had been wary of opening in the first place. It makes him glad he hadn't thrown it into the fire unopened, as he'd been tempted when he recognized Lobelia's script on the outside. Closing his eyes, he sets the letter down with care on his desk, his thoughts racing. He cannot fail to react to this letter, but it can wait a few minutes.

A knock at the door to his office makes him open his eyes with a sigh, and he calls for his visitor to come in. It's surprising the number of dwarves who've decided that since he's clearly in the good favor of the king, he must be the one to come to. Balin's told him to be glad he doesn't have more, and he can well believe it.

"I heard you had a letter from the Shire." Óin closes the door behind him, studying Bilbo for a long moment. "Bad news?"

"My cousin and his wife drowned at Mid-Summer." Bilbo doesn't try to work around the question as he might have with some of the other dwarves. Óin has become a better friend than he'd have thought, for all that he'd been friendly enough during their first journey together. Perhaps it's because Glóin fell during the battle at the end of the journey, and Óin has been one of Bilbo's companions during the journeys back and forth to the Shire.

"And their son?" Óin goes to the small cabinet where Bilbo has taken to storing a few bottles of varied alcoholic beverages for select visitors, and pulls out the bottle of distilled wine and two small goblets.

"Currently being watched by Lobelia, of all people." Bilbo speaks once Óin's facing him once more, and gestures to the letter. "She's written that if I don't return to take charge of the boy by spring, she'll move into Bag End, and damn what I want."

"You'll be going." It's not a question, and Óin pours Bilbo a generous portion of the wine before pouring his own. He sits in the chair across the desk from Bilbo, watching him. "Are you bringing the boy back here after?"

"Not yet." Bilbo shakes his head. "He's too young to travel, just a tiny fauntling. Barely twelve, certainly not old enough to be leaving the Shire just yet, especially not newly orphaned." He looks down at his goblet, watching the way the wine swirled as he turned the goblet. As if there might be answers there, as Óin looks for portents in the most humble things. He looks back up before he speaks again. "I'll have to stay in the Shire until Frodo is older. A tween, probably, so eight or nine years."

Óin nods, though he doesn't speak again right away. Just sits with Bilbo, sipping wine and leaving Bilbo to his thoughts. There will be a lot to do in order to leave his affairs in proper order here until he can come back. And plenty enough to do back in the Shire to settle things with Frodo, and with Lobelia. All before winter snows close the high pass through the Misty Mountains.