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Frodo's Return to the Shire

20th July 1421

20th July 1421: Well! What have I gotten myself into! Today I sent notes to Merry and Pippin asking when they would be traveling in this area next, because I'd like to see them, and yesterday I told Sam and Rosie about going to Oakleaf. It's something I need to do, before I leave and then regret that I didn't try. Gandalf, that wonderful friend, gave me some confidence in the matter. I fear I might displease Elrond, when he hears that I have changed my mind and have not after all decided firmly. But my biggest fear is Bilbo.

Bilbo, of course, will go with the Elves into the West. He has made that clear. He will not wait for me. If I do stay, I will lose him. There is no returning from the Undying Lands. How can I do that? Bilbo, of all people! Well of course if I go, I will lose Sam.... but Sam has Rosie and a full life before him. Losing Bilbo is the hardest thing, perhaps, I will ever do. Certainly if he is to go anywhere, the Undying Lands are where he would go. I can hardly wish to keep him from there. Yet, to be truly without him.... to be unable to ever hear his voice again.... I don't know. Would it be worthwhile to lose Bilbo but gain Lily? With her would be time full of happiness, I hope, and many unknowns. With Bilbo would be sweet memories, an understanding between us that goes to my very core and a life among Elves in a place where Sadness does not go. What if Lily says no? What if she decides I'm too much trouble, changing my mind after telling her I would not? Then surely Elrond will wonder what has become of my mind, first saying yes to him then maybe not then yes after all. He and his company cannot wait for me either. And the Lady Galadriel will be leaving, the great forest of Lothlórien will be silent before too long.

Yes, the world is changing, even I feel it. I just don't know if this change is something I can bear. Losing Sam doesn't seem as bad since I know he has a wife now. Is is fair to Bilbo, to draw away from him now, at the end of his life here? To expect him to go on and not worry about me, left here in a world fast losing its Magic? But he will be among the High Ones, why should he even think about me? Because he still loves me..... as much as I do him. Ah, the answer to this must be at hand, I simply don't see it!

[Frodo got up and tossed some water on his face from the basin nearby. He didn't bother to towel off, the breeze as he walked was cool on his damp skin. 'Does it get hot there, across the Sea? I would expect not, just as I suppose it never gets too cold. I could leave even weather unpleasantness behind. But those are the things, sometimes, that remind me I am still alive...' He drew a very deep breath and let it out. 'Across the wide Sea, Gandalf tells me, there will be no real sadness. I must decide. Perhaps I should wait to see what Pippin and Merry have to say, they may be young but they are wiser than they used to be.' He sat back at his desk.]

So I will do that, I will tell those two impish friends of mine and see what they say. I might bring the full weight of their jesting on myself for doing so but that may be the price!

It is also after much thought that I've decided to change the way I've been dating my entries. It serves as an obvious attempt to find some familiarity in my life. The months and days do not have any more meaning today than say, half a year ago, but I feel that if I can make more of an effort to find more well-known things in everyday life I may have a better chance at feeling like myself, and therefore someone Lily would *want* to spend time with. The first time I wrote the current date I couldn't think of it at all, and then noticed that while my hand remembered how to spell it my mind didn't really understand it. What is the difference between 'March' and 'July'? Between the start of the week and the end? Is there a difference?

But this is the sort of thing that I can't explain to anyone. Why should Lily want to be with someone so confused? Therefore- I've resolved to use dates and times and pay attention to all those details. I thought about staying Mayor for a while longer, but Will Whitfoot is healthy now and would be quite lost without his title. I thought it might give me more to do. In truth, the sorts of things the Mayor does do not keep me focused much on every day. Plus it involves some travelling and I need to stay either at Bag End or in Oakleaf if my mind is to concentrate on anything.

Is this the right decision? Is it fair to Lily and everyone else? Well.... Gandalf feels I can make my own decisions and I do want to try this. I hope that by surprising her with my return she won't have too many expectations. I must be sure that she understands I may still decide I cannot stay here. She is so sensible that I think she will realise that, but if I somehow break her heart again I don't think I could live with myself. This is my last chance but it should not be hers.