This is the time for the thank yous - a bit like the Oscar Speech!
So - in order of appearance, thanks go to the following:
Sammywol for telling me to get on and write this.
Speakr2customrs for beta-reading and his knowledge of both Middle Earth and the Buffyverse.
Stormwreath for help with the Sindarin.
Ningloreth for the wonderful expletive "Ceryn Manwe!"
Jael_beruthiel and Darth Fingon for the affirmative command of the verb Huith...
Also thanks to Always JBJ for this beautiful banner - which I will go back and put at the beginning of Chapter One later - and to Kazzy-Cee for the equally wonderful one which you will see at the bottom of the epilogue.Epilogue
- in which we find out what Radagast meant when he said that Buffy woud see Dawn again, and find out one of the things that Faith did with The Twins.
Tindómë opened her jewellery box and took out the strange device that Radagast, the wizard, had given her when he had worked with the elves to return her to Middle Earth. It looked like something a small child might make, four twigs bound into a square with silken threads, no-one would ever think of it as a magic item.
She had seen it almost every day since he had given it to her almost a year ago and now, for the first time, the centre of the square started to glow.
“Rumil, Rumil, the window is glowing! Look! I can do it; I can try to contact Buffy!” She went through into the large airy room where Rumil was sitting with their son Haldirin, both with paper and pencils, both with identical expressions of concentration.
“Ice-cream?” asked Haldirin, interestedly.
“No, small one, I can send her a message but she can’t send ice-cream,” his mother replied.
“M’kay,” the elfling lost interest. His mother found herself amused, as she often was, by the way in which he had picked up her own ‘Valley Sindarin’.
“Do you want to talk to her on your own or should I stay with you?” Rumil asked.
“I think I’d better do the chanting and concentrating bit on my own but then, when I know she is there, I’ll come in here and try to get it so that she can see all three of us,” Tindómë decided and went back to the bedroom.
It was good to be back in Sunnydale, Buffy thought, unpacking her bag and putting the framed picture of Dawn and Haldirin beside the bed where it had been in each place she and Spike had stayed. She looked again at the letter in Faith’s handwriting that she usually kept with the picture; she had read it often enough to almost know it by heart.To Buffy, sister of our dear Tindómë, from Elladan and Elrohir, Lords of Imladris.
We, who have not seen our mother in many centuries, nor will see her or our father again unless we leave this land; we who will not see our sister again even in death if we sail West to be reunited with our parents; we know what you must feel.
Be assured that Tindómë has not only a husband and husband-brother who love her, and Legolas Lord of Ithilien, Prince of Eryn Lasgalen, as a sworn kinsman, but that we, known as the half-elven and having human blood just as she does, see her also as kin.
In this way is she part of two of the most powerful families in Elvendom, and will never be without family who love her, until the end of the world.’
It was signed in the elegant letters that the elves used. Faith had given it to her the day after the portal between Sunnydale and Ithilien had been closed for ever and even held Buffy, rather awkwardly, when it had caused her to burst into tears.
“Okay, pet?” Spike had come into the bedroom behind her.
Tired,” Buffy answered, “jet-lagged I guess. Think I’ll have an early night.”
Buffy sat bolt upright in bed, eyes open, and poked the vampire who lay beside her.
“Spike, Spike! Wake up! I’ve just seen Dawn. Honestly!”
“Remember the big brown guy said I’d see her again? Well I just did! Although I was asleep it so
wasn’t an ordinary dream – it was like watching her on TV, only I could even talk back.” Buffy smiled at the memory.
“She looks well, and little Hal waved and said… something. That May Government thing he said when they were here. He’s still got the little squirrel too.
“Dawnie said that they had a big feast to welcome her back there, and they are going soon to visit Legolas’ Dad for Christmas… well Winter Festival thing anyway, because he wants to see Dawnie as she’s almost part of his family. Imagine having a king for a foster father!
“And Rumil’s brother Orphan is going too, ’cos he’s going to meet his girlfriend’s family. And Rumil said things that I couldn’t understand, but Dawnie said he was sending me his love, and telling me that he was taking good care of her, making sure she ate properly and things.
“Hey! The guy elves do a lot of the cooking! I can so totally see Legolas making pancakes…not! I guess it’s all barbeques and macho stuff.”
“I make pancakes!” Spike interrupted. “You saying it’s girlie to make pancakes?”
“Uh no,” Buffy answered, thinking quickly, “but you’re macho enough to get away with it – Legolas would look like a big girl!”
‘Whoa, Spike, jealous much?’ she thought, amused. It was so funny when he knew she was never going to meet the elves again.
“I told Dawn about our trip and she said it sounded cool, then it was a bit like losing the signal, things went hazy, and then they’d gone and I woke up.”
“It worked! It so totally worked!” Tindómë was explaining to Legolas.
“Did you ever doubt it, nethig?” he asked “After all Radagast is one of the Istari, as he pointed out to us, oh, twenty or thirty times…”
Actually Tindómë hadn’t been sure how the device would work, or if it would work at all. Radagast had explained that it used the same effect that Willow had used to pull her from Middle Earth to California – that there were occasional times when the two dimensions were closer together than others, although the same amount of time might not have passed in them since the last time.
This was simpler magic than that which he had used to form a portal between the two, when only the same amount of time had passed on each side, and it would cause such a tiny ripple of magic that it would not draw attention. However it might not work again for a year or two, or ten or twenty, or five years in one dimension, fifty in the other. But at least it had worked this time, and Buffy knew that her sister was well.
“Do you miss her, nethig?” Legolas interrupted Tindómë’s train of thought.
“Not really,” she answered. “Does that sound horrible? But I had twenty-two years without her; and I have Rumil and Haldirin here. And Orophin, you, the twins, Aragorn, Gimli… you’ve been my family for a lot longer. But she misses me, and I do love her, so it’s good to be able to send her a message now and again.”
Buffy looked around the training room at the young women, Slayers who had been toddlers when Willow had cast the activation spell, and part of her envied them. She was the first Slayer ever to see her fortieth birthday. But last night, for the first time in almost ten years, she had had ‘a visit’ from her sister and begun to really understand that Dawn was immortal.
Dawn still looked the same age as these teenaged Slayers, twenty at the most, whereas Buffy had the odd line and wrinkle. She had looked at herself in the mirror this morning and remembered what Dawn had said about her own breasts the day she had arrived back in Sunnydale; “they aren’t going to drop, not now, not ever.” Well Buffy’s, small as they were, were beginning to drop.
Rumil also looked exactly as he always did, perfect blond hair, despite being goodness knows how old. Buffy was aware that her roots now had the odd grey if she let them show.
But it was very clear that a good few years had past in Ithilien since that ‘visit’ almost ten years ago; ‘Little Hal’ was now as tall as his father and had celebrated his coming of age, which Buffy knew meant he was about fifty. He had the same cool good looks as his father, with his mother’s eyes, and his proud mother explained that he was now an accomplished bowman who had ‘earned his braids’.
The ‘real news’ however was that Dawn was pregnant again, with a decided ‘bump’, and would be giving birth to a daughter ‘in three months’. A daughter that she and Rumil could already ‘feel’ through those weird elven bonds. Buffy had congratulated Dawn; told her about Willow’s, now three year old, daughter; and hidden the sudden pang of envy.
Yes, she could have a child still, she wasn’t too
old and a sperm donor wouldn’t be that hard to find, but mainly she thought she and Spike weren’t really cut out for parenthood. She would have loved being able to buy pretty things for this, never to be met, niece though.
“Getting older sucks,” Buffy told her sister in her dream. It was forty years since they had last been in the same dimension, seven or eight years since the last ‘visit’, and some of the news to pass on was not happy.
Giles’ funeral was more than a year ago; Faith’s more than two. Althanea had aged since Giles’ death; Faith had left a hole in the lives of more people than she would have believed – killed by one of those diseases that modern medicine should have been able to cure.
Until a year or two ago people always thought Spike was her ‘toy-boy’; now he was being mistaken more often for her son. Getting older sucked.
Dawnie and Rumil looked unaltered; only the son who now looked almost as old as them and the daughter who looked about ten or eleven showed that time was passing for them at all.
Buffy was still amused by the way that Dawn had used the early twenty-first century fashion of naming when it came to her daughter – Ithilienne, named after her place of conception. Even though Dawn had explained that it was also to remind Ithilienne that she was born in Middle Earth, because the time was coming when they would be leaving and emigrating - ‘sailing West’ as Dawn called it.
Dawn and Rumil understood something of the pain of ageing. The hobbits, Gimli, Aragorn, people Buffy had heard of although she hadn’t met them, all were greying now, Dawn said, and it saddened all the elves who knew them as it meant that soon they would not see them again.
The twins dreaded the death of the foster brother who was also their brother-in-law, as it would signal the death of their sister, a final parting with no hope of meeting in the after life. They would be sad to hear of Faith’s death, Dawn told Buffy, they still high-fived each other sometimes.
“Legolas and Orophin send love”, “Willow and Xander send love”…the dream dissolved and Buffy woke.
It had been a quiet shift, the young nurse thought; all her patients were pain-free and comfortable, most of the visitors had left, soon be time to hand over. Then the doors opened and Ms Summers’ evening visitor arrived. Probably her grandson, maybe a great grandson, the nurse thought, and not only handsome but also a good young man; he came every evening to visit the old lady, held her hand, spoke gently to her.
“Quiet day?” he asked the nurse.
“She’s much the same,” she answered, “she’s been asleep most of the day, no-one else has been in.”
The young man entered the room and sat down by the old lady’s bed, leaving the door open. The nurse watched as her patient opened her eyes, focussed on him, and smiled.
“Spike!” she said, her voice frail but clear, “Dawnie has just visited. I am so glad she got here, I thought I might go without saying ‘goodbye’.”
“How is she, pet?” the young man asked, and the nurse wondered how he could sound so normal about something that was clearly a figment of his grandmother’s imagination. After all she had told him, just before he went into the room, that no-one had visited all day.
“She’s fine, Rumil and Hal were out working in the forest, but her daughter was with her. So pretty, Spike, so like Dawnie.”
Ms Summers looked towards the framed picture beside her bed, it showed a young woman and a small boy dressed in some sort of odd costumes, and the nurse often wondered how such a good artist could give the little boy such odd looking ears.
“They are getting ready to sail West,” the old lady said, “all of them, and Legolas is taking Gimpy with them.”
“‘Gimli’, pet,” the young man said, sounding amused, “Although, if everything Andrew wrote down is right, they might not let Gimli in.”
The nurse thought again what a lovely way the young man had with Ms Summers, treating her confused ramblings as if they were normal conversation.
“Dawnie was so glad to get to visit, she had been worried about me,” the old lady continued. “She asked me to give Mom her love.”
The young man looked as if he was brushing away tears; the nurse thought it best to close the door and leave him with his grandmother.
Tindómë had wondered whether Radagast’s ‘window’ would work in Valinor; she almost hoped that it wouldn’t, but a few years after their arrival she woke to see the familiar glow where the small construct sat in her jewellery box.
She waited until Rumil was sitting beside her, holding her hand, and then repeated the words that she had used on each of the eight earlier occasions that she had seen that glow.
She concentrated, as always, on her sister. Thought of Buffy’s face, Buffy’s voice, as she always had. And there was nothing. Buffy was beyond reach.
“I knew she was dying, I knew I probably wouldn’t be able to ‘touch’ her again, but now it’s real and it hurts more than I thought it would,” tears ran down her cheeks as she spoke.
Rumil held her very tightly, poured love and concern through their bond, and rocked her as if she was an elfling, until she finally took the handkerchief he held at the ready and sat up straight again.
The window was still glowing.
Tindómë found herself wondering whether, if she concentrated hard enough, she might be able to ‘find’ Spike…The End.
Odd bit of Sindarin;
Mae Govannen - Well met - polite 'hello'.
Faith's time with the El twins is the subject of the second story in this series - You Gotta Have Faith.
The ’BtVS’ characters in this story do not belong to me, but are being used for amusement only and all rights remain with Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, the writers of the original episodes, and the TV and production companies responsible for the original television shows. The 'LotR' characters also, for whom all rights remain with the estate of JRR Tolkein, and the production company responsible for the LotR movies.