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He fiddles awkwardly with a posy of flowers. It's small but pretty, tied with a bow, the tails of the ribbon trailing over his knuckles.

"It's called a nosegay... It's traditional to exchange them at this time of year. Depending on the flowers you choose, it can have different meanings."

smut

for smuttysws

Weekends are always busiest, Sundays especially. Looking out the second floor window of Bag End manor house, he can see across the vast lawn to the little gamekeeper's cottage that he now lives in. The frost has clung to the grass all day, but that hasn't stopped the tourists; there is even a couple poking about the sparse winter garden around the cottage. The bluebells will come through soon, at least.

Footsteps make slow progress towards him. Bilbo turns around, ready to do his job as tour guide to a home he grew up in and no longer owns.

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For smuttysws

At some point he had to do some real shopping and stock the cottage up with food again, even if he's not been home that much lately. So here he is in the supermarket, braving the hordes of other folk doing exactly the same thing.

Really, he knows better than to pay attention to the tabloids, but as he walks past the newspaper stand the big bold letters splashed over the front pages catch his eye. It stops him dead in his tracks with a sharp intake of breath. The air hurts in his chest. His basket clatters to the floor as he puts his hand to his mouth.

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For smuttysws

Closing his eyes, Bilbo leans his head back and takes a deep breath. He inhales the rich scent of the hot chocolate cradled on his lap, the orange and cinamon spices from the dried fruit garland that hangs over the crackling fire, and the soft pine scent that just hangs in the air. He's barefoot, and his toes are toasty and warm. He sighs.

"I don't think I've ever felt more contented in my life."

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for smuttysws

The countryside is a very dark place to be in the middle of winter. There had been a chalk board sign in the driveway advertising real Christmas trees for sale, and Bilbo took the detor on a whim, imagining driving home with the smell of real pine filling his car. Now, he was standing in an icy yard in front of a hut that glowed with coloured lights in the window, surrounded by bushy trees that stretched into the dim gloom. There didn't seem to be anyone else around.

"Um... Hello?"

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There's a high pitched shriek coming from the bathroom. It's followed by a moment of silence, then crashing noises. When Bilbo yanks open the door, dressed in his robe, there is still the skittering noise of something yet to come to rest in the bathtub behind him.

"... There's a spider."

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Normally, Bilbo would be happier in his own home with a nice cup of tea and some cakes to pick at, or at least if happy wasn't exactly the mood he was going for, he would be more comforted by that scenario. He can't mope forever, though, and drinking something a bit stronger might be just the thing he needs to loosen up. Or black out. Either was fine.

"Can't be alone forever, Bilbo," he told himself as he walked through the night, towards the closest bar.

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for durinsforge

It must be a lonely life, Bilbo reflects as he stuffs hay into the hay net hanging in one of the five stables attached to the manor house. Five stables and only one old nag in residence. Much like him, really: The only child of Belladona and Bungo Baggins, the manor house was an empty echoing place when he walked the halls at night. He much prefered living in the game keeper's cottage, and it was just as well that he enjoyed his own company.

"What about you? Do you need a friend, Myrtle?" He patted the horse's neck, before pulling an apple from his pocket to offer her as well. "I can't afford to get you one, but at least you can have new shoes..."

In fact, he was waiting on someone now to come and shoe her. He was late.

(Over at the forge)