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The Hobbit: A Suicidal Journey

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It wasn't that Bilbo was very keen on dying.

There just wasn't anything left to do but perish.

Bilbo leaned back on the bench, chewing the edge of his pipe. The Old Toby tasted bittersweet on his tongue—a tang he had grown to like. The morning sun was warm on his face and the earth soft on his hobbit feet. The green rolling hills of the Shire was spread out before him, astounding in its picturesque beauty.

When his parents died several years before, he was left all on his own in the big smial that was Bag End. The grief was too great that, at first, he was glad that he was all alone to wallow in his misery. But holing himself in Bag End for months had cost him most of his friends and relatives. Sure, they'd come around for tea once in a while but there was always some ulterior motive to their visits. They certainly didn't come for Bilbo's somewhat unpleasant company; his months of isolation had done no good to his social awkwardness.

Being a gentlehobbit also meant he didn't interact with hobbits that much. He didn't work; rent from neighboring hobbits was always send through his mail. So he only came out of his smial when his pantry's running low or if he was in the mood to garden.

Bilbo lifted his gaze to the cerulean sky full of fluffy white clouds. He let out a resigned sigh. The weather was much too nice to be thinking such maudlin thoughts.

But Bilbo's searching for a definite explanation as to why he had been feeling so empty and numb lately. Well, it actually started a few years after his parents died so he supposed that's not exactly 'lately'. Some days, the emptiness ached so much that it could be mistaken for a physical wound.

Nothing in the Shire excited him anymore—not the parties, the festivals, the running little fauntlings asking for stories. Nothing can stir his heart. Books about faraway lands and adventures could almost make his heart beat in excitement. But after he finished reading them, he would feel more disconnected to the world than before.

Bilbo inhaled on his pipe and puffed out, watching as the smoke curled into the air.

He had read the studies of Men about the general reasons for suicides. They concluded that one of the causes would be detachment from society. If a person had nothing to attach him to this world—family, friends, a purpose—then he would choose to go to another through death.

Bilbo supposed that was definitive enough.

He had thought about it, of course; ending his life would probably give him some kind of relief to the emptiness of his days.

But oh, how to go about it?

Bilbo would deliberate about it for hours in a day.

He would trace through the veins on the inside of his wrists, wondering how slowly he would die should a sharp kitchen knife pierce him. It would be messy and perhaps painful but Bilbo had read that a person experienced great euphoria when they lose too much blood. However, he worried for the poor sap who would have had the displeasure of cleaning his remains (there had been no bloody death in the Shire for decades!). And there was no need to ruin a good kitchen knife.

He would run his hands through the clothesline, wondering how the swirly grooves would feel upon his neck as it strangled him. Would hanging himself feel similar to drowning? Or is drowning a better choice? Bilbo would feel weightless as he sank onto the bottom of the river. The water would feel cool against his skin and he would probably see the wonderful shafts of sunlight before all faded to black.

Starving himself, jumping from a high tree, burying himself in the garden . . .

The thoughts, whenever they crossed his mind, made his heart beat faster. His hands started to sweat and his whole body felt like it had been inflamed and, at the same time, doused with very cold water. It wasn't until his cheeks started hurting from smiling that he realized what he was feeling wasn't fear but . . . Bilbo didn't know what it was either but it was nothing remotely resembling the emptiness he was feeling nowadays.

But in the end, he would come to the same conclusion; those deaths were too boring!

He closed his eyes, pursing his lips to blow out a smoke ring. He was quite an expert in making one, if he might say so himself.

The Took in him rebelled against such common ways to go! Since Bilbo had free reign to choose on how to die, he preferred to go in a creative and unique way. Being eaten by an exotic creature? Or maybe inhaling a poisonous gas? If he did go while being useful or maybe protecting somebody, then that would be a big bonus! Bilbo had always wanted to be the knight's best friend who ultimately sacrificed himself just to be useful.

Alas, Bilbo didn't think he would ever be of use to anybody no matter how hard he tried. So he would settle for an ingenious death.

Unfortunately, there were no such dangers in the Shire. And currently, Bilbo had not the motivation to venture outside of it, lethargic as he was on most days.

Perhaps he should content himself with a common death, then? As much as he wanted a thrilling end, he didn't want to drag this dreary existence into another day . . .

A great dab of air smacked him right on the nose and he startled, broken out of his thoughts.

His eyes flew open out of his own accord. He was met by the sight an old man as tall as a tree. His greying beard reached past his chest while his equally greying hair went until his waist. Everything about the man was gray, actually, from his drab robes and large pointed hat. He held a gnarly staff with both hands, leaning forward to stare at the hobbit with eyes twinkling with amusement.

Bilbo blinked, uncertain on what to do. It was a bit disorienting whenever he was abruptly pulled off his daydream. He fiddled around with his hands before saying, "Good morning!" with as much enthusiasm he could pull off—which, in these days, wasn't much.

The amusement in those eyes seemed to increase, if that was possible. "What you mean?" the man started in a croaky voice that seemed only wise old creatures were capable of. "Do you mean to wish me good morning or do you mean that it is a good morning, whether I want it or not?" The man paused only for a breath before continuing. "Or perhaps you mean to say that you feel good this particular morning or are you simply stating this is a morning to be good on?"

Bilbo probably looked as stupid as he felt. Nevertheless, he took time to digest the riddle that was the old Man's words. He took two quick puffs of his pipe before replying, "I supposed I hope your morning to be good and that it is a good morning because of the clear weather." He gestured at the sky with his pipe.

The man's brows rose in what was perhaps surprise. "Hmm. I see."

Bilbo gave a small smile and a nod. After a few moments, he realized the man wasn't leaving. He grappled with the poor excuse of social skills he had. "Um. C-Can I help you?"

"That remains to be seen," the man replied, leveling him with a measuring gaze.

Bilbo refused to fidget under the old man's scrutiny. He was a Baggins of Bag End. He might be a recluse but he hadn't lost his respectability yet.

"I'm looking for someone to share in an adventure." The man said, eyes twinkling with no small amount of mischief.

Bilbo's brows rose to his hairline, mouth dropping open. "Wh—An adventure?" he breathed out. Like the quests he had read in books? "Those nasty, disturbing, uncomfortable things?" He didn't care for anything uncomfortable but adventures were nastydangerous, and almost always life-threatening. He exhaled a deep breath to calm himself. Could it be? Could he really be this lucky? Just when he was thinking of giving up . . .

A disapproving frown appeared on the man's face at the hobbit's words. "As I recall, Belladonna Took's son would jump at the chance to go on an adventure."

"Do I know you?" Bilbo questioned, narrowing his eyes. The man did seem familiar.

"Well, you know my name, although you do not remember that I belong to it. I'm Gandalf! And Gandalf means me." The man said with unnecessary flourish.

Well, old creatures tended to be dramatic.

Speaking of dramatics, Bilbo did know the old man. "Gandalf? Not Gandalf, the Wandering Wizard, who made such excellent fireworks! Old Took used to have them during Midsummer's Eve." The old man, Gandalf, preened at the compliment.

Bilbo remembered those nights. He wished he could relive the excitement he had at seeing those colorful explosions on the night sky. And perhaps, this was it. Gandalf, who had evoked such long lost feeling in him years before, must be here to do so again.

"An adventure, you say?" he asked with a tilted head. He felt a flutter in his chest just at the thought of the danger this adventure implied.

"Yes, yes," Gandalf replied with a smile, his frown disappearing at Bilbo's piqued interest. "One that may decide the fate of the whole of Middle Earth."

Oh. Oh. This wasn't just some quick run-on-the-mill quest then. Bilbo eagerly got to his feet, feeling hot all over. He opened the gate of his fence, gesturing the wizard in with his pipe. "Come on in, then. Tell me more over elevenses."

Gandalf appeared surprised. "I had expected to be met with more hesitation than this.”

Bilbo chuckled, placing his pipe back in his mouth. Perhaps once, he would have driven the old wizard out just at the mere mention of 'adventure'. But that was a time when he had yet to realize his empty existence, and when had yet to lose all kinds of strong emotions.

"Nonsense," the hobbit replied instead. Something told Bilbo that Gandalf wouldn't let him come should the wizard know of the hobbit's true intentions. "Tooks would at least hear more about this adventure before even thinking to refuse."

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A journey through the dangerous territories of goblins and the forests of Mirkwood.

Thirteen careless dwarves with a knack for waving weapons at every single opportunity.

A dragon with fearsomely-sharp claws and rock-melting fire.

Bilbo brought the teacup to his lips with trembling hands, hiding his wide excited smile at the thought of so many interesting ways to die. Of course, he felt fear at the pain he might endure on this journey. The thought of the relief those exciting deaths would incur, however, was enough to overcome any other feeling.

He took a sip of the lukewarm tea before placing it down on the table.

Gandalf frowned at him in concern, sitting on the only Big Folk chair in the house. Bilbo suspected the furniture only existed in Bag End because of the wizard. Gandalf was currently puffing away on his own pipe, filling the smial with the scent of Old Toby. His plate of blueberry pie lain empty on the table, not even crumbs were left.

"My dear Bilbo, are you alright?" He asked, leaning forward.

"Yes, yes, quite," the hobbit answered with a dismissive wave.

It was then that Gandalf casted a suspicious glance at Bilbo, which went unnoticed by the hobbit. The wizard continued on smoking, eyes taking in the hobbit's trembling and sweating hands, dilated eyes, and the big grin that the other was trying to curb by biting his lip. It seemed Bilbo was truly excited at the prospect of an adventure. Gandalf thought the hobbit had needed more persuasion.

The hobbit tilted his head. "You said the dwarves will arrive tonight?"

"Yes. All thirteen of them," Gandalf said in his usual amused tone.

"Right." Bilbo was already thinking on how he could cook for thirteen dwarves in just a few hours. Going to certain death surprisingly gave him the energy to care about being a poor host. He was no longer lethargic.

"You agree then?" Bilbo startled as Gandalf stood up, head almost hitting the chandelier (again). The hobbit stood up with him.

"Why, yes. Of course." Bilbo beamed. This adventure was a golden opportunity for a creative death! He would not miss it.

Gandalf gave a thoughtful hum, staring at Bilbo fondly. "You have not changed one bit, Bilbo Baggins. You are still the same fauntling that liked to steal my fireworks just for the sake of getting into trouble." The wizard chuckled, ruffling the hobbit's curls.

"Yes, but I'm not a fauntling anymore." Bilbo huffed, swatting Gandalf's hands away and giving him a half-hearted glare.

What Gandalf didn't know was Bilbo had changed, so much so that he no longer even felt like a hobbit sometimes. He was not the same excitable young fauntling he once was—rather the opposite actually. But what Gandalf didn't know wouldn't hurt him.

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