Chapter Three: Mistletoe
Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Lord of the Rings belong to their respective creators, Joss Whedon and J.R.R. Tolkien.
Chapter Three: Mistletoe
The second half of her genius plan was actually quite simple. The tool with which she was going to guarantee success was easy enough to make out of bits of scraps and wire, and wrapping it took a bare minimum of the cloth she had left, so that she managed to get all her presents wrapped as well. The hardest part was going to be finding a spare moment and enough privacy to actually implement everything.
Naturally, she barely managed to get the thing wrapped before Eomer wrecked everything by bursting in on her in her room.
She'd just put on the finishing touches when the door to her room slammed open. Almost jumping out of her skin, Buffy whirled, automatically reaching for her dagger, and saw Eomer standing in the gaping doorway.
The shout died before leaving her mouth.
He was breathing harshly, as if he'd been running. He wore his leathers, his sword, and a cloak, his hair strewn about as if he'd just come in from a strong wind. The helm he wore when he went out riding was under his arm, and he brought with him a breath of cold air and snow.
Buffy took her hand off the hilt of her dagger, feeling somehow embarrassed.
He was looking—no, glaring
at her. His hands, one clenched under his helm and the other flat against the door, trembled with fury.
He looked glorious.
"Isenwyrhta," he said, and it was more of a wolfish snarl than a name.
"Eomer," she answered uneasily, and tried to imagine what Theodred might have told him. Theodred wouldn't deliberately sabotage her, would he? He wasn't that kind of a man. Except then why was Eomer so angry at her yet again
Eomer marched into her room—completely ignoring all rules of polite conduct, a boldness shocking even by Rohirric standards—threw his helm down on the table, seized her waist, lifted her up nearly a foot off the floor, crushed her against him, and kissed her.
At that point, Buffy seriously debated whether or not to faint. But if this was a dream, then she wanted to wring every last mind-boggling second out of it, and so instead she put her arms around his neck, her hands in his hair, and drowned.
Eomer pulled away first. She resisted, made him pull her with him as he tried to draw back, and sighed against his mouth. At that, he trembled violently, his hands grasping tightly at her waist and hip, and he pressed his lips to her flesh, where there was a curving hollow in the bones between shoulder and neck.
When they finally did manage to break apart, Buffy feeling as if she were drunk on the taste of his mouth and skin, the expression on Eomer's face was of a tenderness she could never have imagined on his face without seeing it. He was even smiling—a small, cocksure smile, but a smile—and he stroked her hair as if he were afraid she would break if he touched her too forcefully.
"You wretched girl," he told her, voice low and intimate, carrying a trace of that stiff, angry tone he had always used with her, the tone she now recognized for what it was. "Had I known—"
"—you wouldn't have been so mean to me?" she finished for him, kissing a finger twined with his hair.
His eyes darkened to the green of holly leaves. "You would be the mother of my sons even now."
The heat began somewhere low in her belly, a heat that swelled and spread until Buffy's skin felt as hot as a tang glowing white in the forge fire. She pulled his head down, kissed him with all the urgency she felt shivering through her skin, and he held her closer, harder, the taste of morning ale and smoke on his tongue. He was still holding her off of the ground, an arm braced against the small of her back, and now he slid the other down under her legs, lifting them up, and he was carrying her back, was putting his knee onto the bed pushed into the far alcove of the room, and Buffy tensed to feel him begin to lower her, begin to follow her body with his own— "Brother!"
Buffy stared, wide-eyed, over Eomer's shoulder, even as he turned his own head to look.
The door was wide open. In that space stood Eowyn, red-faced and wide-eyed, mouth half-open as she stammered.
"I…I…" She closed her mouth, took a breath, and tried again. "Brother, I…I had been looking for…you…"
Buffy just knew, just knew
that she was going to explode with embarrassment. "Eowyn—"
Eomer stood up.
Still firmly in his grasp, Buffy went with him.
Without letting her go, Eomer strode right over to the door, Buffy wide-eyed and speechless in his arms. Before Eowyn he stopped, eyeing his sister with an expression that looked suspiciously like smug contentment.
"We have plighted our troth," he told his sister, as frankly and nonchalantly as if he were making a remark on the weather, not at all like he was standing in an unrelated woman's room carrying her like an Easterling carrying off the spoils of war. "We will be married, and she will be my wife. Make haste and inform our mother-brother, the King."
Eowyn opened and closed her mouth.
"I accept your regards, sister," said Eomer gravely. "Now let me be."
Putting a hand on Eowyn's shoulder, he gently, yet insistently turned her around. Then, placing the same hand flat on the middle of her back, he pushed her out into the hall, as if he were shooing a child out of the room.
This time, he closed and latched the door.
Only then did he look at the woman he was flinging around like a sack of potatoes.
"I don't remember saying anything about marrying you," said Buffy, trying ineffectively to cross her arms.
His expression immediately turned forbidding. "I will suffer no opposition in this, leofa
," he warned her. "In this, if in nothing else, you will do as I bid you."
Buffy couldn't find it in herself to protest.
Abruptly, Eomer seemed to remember that he was still holding her off the ground. He grimaced, and, putting her slowly down on her own feet, said, "I will speak to the King. If I get my way, we will wed in the first month of the new year."
Buffy gaped. "But—"
He speared her with a look that made her bite her tongue as she went quiet.
While she stood there, head spinning, Eomer happened to glance over her shoulder. His eyes narrowed, and he frowned. "What is this?"
He stalked past her. Buffy blinked, turned, and watched him pick a strangely-shaped, gaily-wrapped bundle off of the table.
"Oh," said Buffy. "That's…um, that's nothing."
His eyes blazed, and Buffy's head went light and dizzy at the unrestrained jealousy that filled Eomer's face.
"It's for you," she breathed, and then, hurriedly, "Well, for us, really, for you and
me, but—no! You can't open it!"
His hand stopped above the cloth. "If it is for our use, what does it matter?" he demanded.
God, what a temper! Buffy felt her own combative nature rise to the occasion. "Because it's not Yule yet," she retorted, and snatched the object out of his hands. "You don't open Yule presents until Yule!"
"Very well," he said haughtily. "But now I expect two
Buffy didn't know whether to hug him or smack him. She settled for holding the wrapped item high over their heads—a literal stretch on her part, Eomer being something of a giant—and then reaching up as far as she could to brush his mouth with hers.
Eomer raised an eyebrow, instantly calmer. But he still eyed the bundle of red cloth and yellow ribbon in her hand. "What is the purpose of this?"
"Oh," said Buffy happily, "just another Yule tradition from home."
Three cheers for her genius plan.