Pearl was going home after picking some mushrooms out in the fields when she noticed Merry and Pippin leaving the Tooks’ house. They seemed normal, but Pearl noticed a slight note of sorrow in their eyes. She wondered where they were going and why they were all dressed up in that unfamiliar clothing they came home in from their long journey. She walked briskly up to them and asked, “Why the fancy clothing, lads? I hope you’re not going to party without me,” she said, a grin spreading on her face, making the two fellows smile back.
“Well Pearl, it’s more like a farewell party. For Bilbo Baggins, he’s leaving with the Elves,” acknowledged Pippin.
“We were the only ones invited, besides Frodo and Sam of course. Gandalf is leaving as well. Sorry that you weren’t invited, knowing how much you cared for Bilbo. They just wanted those of us who went on the journey to be there to send them off right, I guess,” said Merry.
“We’re going to the Grey Havens, the Elvish city by the sea. Their boat will be leaving here soon and we promised Gandalf we’d meet him on the way. Don’t worry Pearl, I’ll tell you all about it when I get back,” promised Pippin.
“Oh very well,” she said. “Then get back soon, I don’t want to wait a whole year to hear about it.” She grinned at him.
Pippin laughed, “Don’t worry; I should be back in a couple of days. Well, if you want me back soon I should be leaving now. Merry’s already gotten the ponies ready and is waiting for me. I’ll see you when I get back,” said Pippin, giving his sister a warm hug. He ran to his horse and waved to her goodbye before leaving with Merry. Pearl was going up the stairs when a thought occurred to her. Frodo hadn’t been to the Tooks in a while. I hope Pippin will remember to get Frodo over here, she thought. It wouldn’t be much of a birthday party without the birthday boy. She sighed, Oh Frodo. It really wasn’t Bilbo she was interested in, though she loved the old chap dearly; it was Frodo whom she had always wanted. There could be no other hobbit lad for her. The only reason why she took any interest in Bilbo was because Frodo loved him so much and wanted to be with him. Then another, horrifying thought crossed her mind as she set down the basket of mushrooms on the kitchen table. What if Frodo decided that he would go with Bilbo over the sea? He hadn’t been himself since the journey and being with the Elves would probably make him feel better. No!, she screamed in her head. If this was so she had to go to the Grey Havens, she had to see him. This might be the last time she would ever get to see him, unless . . . an idea formed in her mind and she rushed to her room to prepare. It would be risky, but it would be worth it, even if it was just to get to see Frodo.
Frodo watched as his friends quickly become small specks on the shore. He turned to face the sunset . . . and his fellow passengers. He smiled at them, and walked to the rail of the ship. He closed his eyes and breathed in the scents of the sea. Oh it felt so good, it seemed like he was healing already. A small, yet sad smile settled on his face. This is a good thing, he thought to himself. But I shall miss the Shire and all my friends, especially Sam and . . . “Frodo?” said a concerned voice, breaking into his thoughts. Frodo opened his eyes and looked at the elderly hobbit standing next to him.
“Are you alright?” inquired his uncle.
“I’m alright, Bilbo. I’m sure I’ll feel much better once we get to the Undying Lands,” replied Frodo. Frodo smiled when he saw his uncle’s eyes respond to the call of sleep. “And when we get you to your bed, or else you’ll fall over and probably get us both killed,” he continued with a chuckle. Gandalf came and helped him get Bilbo to his room. However, when they got close to his room, a thought popped into Bilbo’s head.
“What about supper? I can’t go to sleep without getting something to eat.”
Frodo smiled at this comment while Gandalf chuckled. “I shall go get you something to eat, my friend, while Frodo gets you settled into your room. I shall be back shortly,” assured the wizard.
Bilbo sighed when he lay down on his bed. “The Elves make such comfortable beds. If Gandalf doesn’t get here soon, I’ll fall asleep without eating and we can’t let that happen. Well, then, how about we talk a little to keep me awake.”
“What do you want to talk about?” asked Frodo.
“What were you thinking when we left port? It looked like you were having second thoughts about coming. From the look on your face I thought for sure you were going to get off the boat and stay in the Shire. Have you fallen in love with a lass and didn’t bother to tell us? Aha!” said Bilbo when he saw some color rising in Frodo’s cheeks. “So you did fall in love! My dear lad, why didn’t you say so before? You could have come on a later boat. You could have stayed in the Shire with your friends and watched yours and their children grow up. Then you, and probably Sam as well, could have come later when all your children have grown up and moved away.”
“But my wounds have never healed; I do not wish to trouble my wife with my wounds when she has to take care of the children. I’m not whole, Bilbo.”
“You could have been if you married and had children,” grumbled Bilbo, rolling his eyes. “Could you at least tell me who you have fallen in love with?”
“Well, umm . . .”
“Here is your supper, Bilbo, and I got something for you and me as well Frodo. I’m sorry, did I interrupt you?” asked Gandalf.
Bilbo started speaking before Frodo could. “In a way, Frodo was about to tell me who he is in love with.”
“Oh my, what gave him away?” asked Gandalf, his eyes twinkling with merriment. Frodo’s cheeks began to color again. “Oh,” laughed Gandalf. “I think that would. Please continue with your revelation.”
Frodo gulped, he wondered how they would take it. After a moment’s pause he looked at the floor and said rather meekly, “I fell in love with Pearl Took.”
Bilbo looked at him, stunned. “Did you even tell her goodbye? No, don’t answer that, you probably didn’t. You didn’t even ask her to come to the Grey Havens to see us off. Oh dear, I can see why you were having second thoughts.”
“My friends,” said Gandalf, after a long silence, “we should eat our food before it gets cold. We can continue this conversation while we eat. Or, if you’d like, after we are done,” he added, noting the expression on Frodo’s face.
The three decided to eat their meals in silence, contemplating over the conversation that just occurred. However, they did not get to chat any more about the topic at hand as Bilbo wanted to go to sleep and Frodo mumbled something about needing to unpack.
“Well, it is getting late and we all should be retiring soon. We will discuss this at length later, for a few questions and concerns about this have come to my mind,” remarked Gandalf, directing his gaze towards Frodo. “Good night and sleep well, my friends.”
Not too long after Gandalf left, Frodo made sure Bilbo was comfortable before going to his own room. He collapsed on his bed with doubts and musings scurrying around in his head. Did he make the right decision? Yes he did and he knew it. But couldn’t the Elves let her some with them? Again a quick answer followed, no, not unless she let the Took in her decide matters and stow away on board. He chuckled at the prospect. Oh how he would enjoy seeing the looks on their faces when they find her at the end of their journey. He sighed, if only . . . but it was all hope and he was resolved to go to the Undying Lands to find healing. He rolled over and fell asleep, unaware of a pair of eyes observing his every move.