Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Lord of the Rings belong to their respective creators, Joss Whedon and J.R.R. Tolkien.
Author's Warning: major AU. Absolutely non-canon.
Those faces stayed with her, though, the ones she couldn't remember or forget. She saw them as she had the first time, the day they brought her to Brandy Hall, the three girls with hair red, brown, and black.
But things became easier, almost by the day, until she could barely guess at a time when she didn't live at Brandy Hall, when she wasn't Mommy and Daddy's baby. And if her name still sat strangely on her skin, if when someone called “Buttercup!” she had to remind herself to turn her head, if sometimes at night she saw the boy, the blue-eyed boy, Frodo, still twelve-years-old, lying on the floor of her bedroom, the green water trickling from his mouth, well, at least it wasn't as scary as it was before, and she learned not to cry out, not to cry, but bear it in silence until morning.
She stayed small. She was always the smallest of the children in the house, the shortest, the skinniest, no matter what Mommy tried to get her to eat or tempt her with. Her feet stayed smaller, too, though the hair was thick and healthy, and she could walk in the woods and over the hills of the Shire with the boldest of them. Daddy told her that it didn't matter what size she was, because the only thing that mattered was the size of a hobbit's heart, not her self.
A few years after she became a Brandybuck, when she was still a baby at eight, Esmerelda grew big with child. The whole Hall grew full with expectation and joy, because Saradoc was the eldest son of Rorimac, Master of Buckland, and this was a third generation heir. There was supposed to be a huge celebration when the baby came, and all anyone could talk about was what to name it.
They wouldn't let her go into the room when Esmerelda felt the first pangs, but that was only because she was a child. All the men and children were sent out of the house, to get them out of the way. Daddy and Saradoc and all the other men stood in the garden and talked, about nothing but the baby. Most of the little ones went off to romp where they wanted to, except her. She stood in front of the door, watching it, waiting for something, even though she couldn't exactly say what it was.
So when Mommy came to the door to call Saradoc in, it was her who saw Mommy coming first, it was her who heard the news the loudest, and it was her who slipped in through the door ahead of anyone else.
Esmerelda was hot and tired, her hair let down. She smiled when she came into the room, closing her eyes as if she wanted to sleep. In her arms, in clean white wrappings, was a tiny, wrinkled thing that made Buttercup nervous until she realized it was the baby.
Saradoc came in, then, alone, and he went to Esmerelda and kissed her cheek, and then the baby's cheek. His eyes were wet, and they whispered together for a while, their hands on their new baby, until he turned again to go and tell Daddy. As he went, he bent and kissed her head.
“Say hello, Buttercup,” said Saradoc, and pushed her gently to Esmerelda. “Say hello.”
She went closer, peering cautiously into the blankets, and saw a small, scrunched-up face, eyes tightly shut.
“It's Meriadoc,” whispered Esmerelda. “Buttercup, say hello to Meriadoc.”
“Hello, Meriadoc,” she said a little shyly, and smiled to see the baby's nose ruckle.
When she thought about it later, she wasn't sure why it happened, but it did. She was looking at the baby, touching one tiny finger with her fore, and suddenly she felt as if she were looking at other people at the same time as she was being watched, and in her mind was the sight of two girls, the girls from her dreams, the girls from her nightmares.
Two girls, with hair brown and black.