You Gotta Have Faith.
There were a few brief words of introduction from Dawn, “Here you go, Faith. Your own personal two-elf escort. Blue hair clips, Elrohir; black, Elladan. They’re totally unshockable, and pretty well unstoppable, enjoy yourselves,” and Faith found herself heading out on the town with two of the buffest guys she had ever seen in tow.
Looking them up and down slowly she decided that they might attract less unwanted attention if they looked a bit more ‘ordinary’, at least when it came to clothes; they were never going to look ‘ordinary’ when it came to faces, hair, or bodies. The tight trousers and calf length boots were cool; but the tunics were a bit weird. Faith, able to communicate with the elves easily thanks to Radagast’s spell, explained this and suggested they call somewhere for her to buy them some ‘camouflage’ before they ventured out of the car.
The twins were more than happy to go along with this suggestion and then the question of money arose. The twins had money – but Faith didn’t think it would be all that easy to use genuine gold pieces in Wal-Mart. She decided the Watchers’ Council credit card would be better. Pretty quickly she had two cute guys, in normal T-shirts, both anxious to ‘see something of this place’.
“I don’t think they can understand you,” Faith said in a low voice to the twins. “The spell must only apply to those of us the wizard guy aimed it at.”
The Starbucks barista looked expectantly at the three of them.
Remembering what Dawn had said about elves having a sweet tooth, and how bitter coffee had tasted to her after her time in Middle Earth, Faith ordered hazelnut hot chocolate for each of the twins and a couple of shots of espresso for herself. She thought she might need to stay wide awake for a while. Then she added toasted paninis to the order, and a few cakes, as the Els seemed to be having problems deciding what looked best.
“What fun, that the spell only works for us three,” said one of the twins, as they sat at a table in the window.
“We may make personal remarks about everyone around us,” said the other, with some glee.
“Talking about personal remarks, what did
you say about Kennedy?” Faith asked. “I guess, from what Dawn, uh, Domie, said, and the muttering Kennedy was doing as we left, that it wasn’t complimentary…”
“On the contrary,” said the twin now sporting the 49ers T-shirt – Elladan, Faith remembered.
“We were only considering whether it was immoral to try and persuade her to, um, join with one of us if she was usually only ‘swayed by the desires of the flesh’ in relation to other females. We did not want her to be upset if she, um, felt she had agreed to something she might later regret,” continued the one who must therefore be Elrohir.
“Although it is possible,” Elladan admitted, “that she may also have heard me wager five gold pieces that if we took one of them each...”
“And using only hands and mouth,” his twin cut in.
“The red-head would scream first,” Elladan continued, with a totally sweet and innocent expression.
“And loudest!” Elrohir concluded, as the barista put their paninis in front of them.
Faith snorted espresso down her nose. This earned her a hard stare from the barista, who then cast long lingering looks at the elves, before returning to the counter.
The two elves ate gracefully, enthused over the hazelnut chocolate, and made slightly wicked, but amusing, remarks about the others in the coffee bar and passing outside the windows. Radagast’s spell might not enable the other residents of Sunnydale to understand them but they had amazingly good hearing and could understand the people around them.
“Faith,” said Elladan, “we appear to be attracting a lot of attention. This happens to us when we go amongst men in Middle Earth too. All elves seem to; I think it is our hair…”
“And the fact that there are two of us doesn’t help,” his brother added.
“We could change to a single braid each if it would be less unusual,” Elladan continued, “but it would not be so easy then to hide our ears.”
“Which is not a problem in Minas Tirith or Meduseld,” Elrohir came in, “but we know there are no elves here in California, and so we may attract even more attention.”
“Tindómë was not even fully conscious the first time she noticed Rumil and I had such beautifully pointed ears,” Elladan said with a grin, “and it clearly worried her!”
“Well,” Faith began, “the hair is pretty noticeable but, to be honest, I think you’d attract attention even if I was to chop it all off for you.”
Two shocked faces gave her the impression that this might only be achieved over their dead bodies.
She hastily continued, “Not that I would dream of it. Keeping the ears covered would be of the good, too. But, like I said, people would kinda notice you anyway – one tall, buff, positively beautiful guy draws attention – the matched pair of you are probably the biggest helping of eye-candy this town has ever seen.”
“Eye-candy?” queried one twin. “I like that description. Although, to be honest, we are no better looking than the average elf – all elves seem to have this affect on humans!”
“Well if people are going to point and talk,” said the other at the same time, “we may as well give them reason…”
They looked at each other and then, in unison, ran their fingers through their almost waist length hair, stood gracefully and smoothed the t-shirts over their well muscled chests, then bestowed matching smouldering looks on a pair of women in their thirties at a table to their left, and three gay guys at a table to their right.
Faith tried not to laugh at the effect on both groups and then tried to resist the urge to stick her tongue out as the Els, as Dawn called them, took one of her arms each and steered her towards the door. She wished she could see the faces on those behind her as two identical long fingered hands slid from her arms down to her butt, she snaked an arm around each well muscled elven butt in return, and the three strolled out into the mall.
The Els were vaguely interested in the concept of televisions as they passed them in store windows, were fascinated by a couple of guys on skateboards but decided against trying for themselves, and spent ten minutes deciding on exactly what they wanted from Ben and Jerry’s.
Faith thought it only right, as their guide to twenty-first century California, to suggest a trip to the movies. ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ looked the best bet but she wasn’t disappointed when they turned down the opportunity.
“Why would we want to watch long-haired men fighting with swords on pirate ships?” asked Elladan.
“Been there, seen it, done it, as Tindómë says,” Elrohir added.
Faith was cool with the decision - she could, personally, think of better ways to use the time.
As they walked back to Giles’ car Faith felt the two elves stiffen. Faces which had been relaxed and friendly were suddenly implacable and eyes which had twinkled with interest and fun were cold and hard. Both turned together, causing Faith who was still sandwiched between them to do likewise, and a group of four or five jocks some distance away became the focus of those eyes.
Faith remembered Dawn describing ‘the elven death stare, guaranteed to intimidate’ and now she was seeing it in action. The jocks all seemed to suddenly shrink slightly and look young and worried.
“They insulted you,” the twin she had been calling Ro for the past half hour told Faith.
She could guess what sort of insult they’d overheard. “It’s no big, guys, it happens all the time. No point in you saying anything, they wouldn’t understand you anyway.”
The elves didn’t answer her but Elrohir, still in ‘intimidation mode’, detached himself from Faith and his brother and took a couple more paces towards the jocks. They suddenly took to their heels and ran away; much to Faith’s amusement.
‘Dan’ turned to face Faith, took her face gently between his hands, and looked into her eyes. She found herself held in a gaze that she suddenly believed really was thousands of years old and, instead of hearing his voice with her ears, she ‘felt’ him speak deep inside her head.
“It is not
‘no big’. Never accept that you can just be insulted like that. Never accept that you have so little worth. You are one of the warriors that protected this place from the Uruk-Hai and were those youths here to help? No.
“You are a beautiful young woman who should not accept being insulted, put-down, or being made to feel that you are in any way ‘less’ than anyone else. Never forget that, Faith.”
It felt as if time stood still, although it was probably only a few seconds, and then she found herself part of a two elf sandwich again.
She looked at Elladan wide-eyed.
He said, out loud this time, “It is a skill inherited from our grandmother. There are things that are too important for ordinary conversation.”
“Come,” said Elrohir, “and show us some of those warrior skills.”
Faith wondered whether he had ‘heard’ what his brother had said but, before she got the chance to ask, he continued; “What they said about us was probably meant
to be insulting too – except that we’ve tried it, and it was most enjoyable…”
The practice room at the old Magic Box was useable again, even though the shop had remained unopened since, well, since whatever Willow had done to it. Faith had been using it to put her group of Slayers through their paces and the weapons chest was now full again.
The twins had brought their swords with them in the car and now had their scabbard belts slung onto their hips. This answered a question that had crossed Faith’s mind a couple of times – they were, apparently, not totally mirror images – both were right handed. Faith looked at the beautifully engraved sword that Elladan passed her, felt the weight and balance of it, and smiled in satisfaction.
She was amused to see both the twins remove knives from their boots – not so trusting of Sunnydale as she had thought, eh? They tossed them, almost without looking, into the dart board at the end of the room – the first hit the bull’s-eye, the second slid along the blade of the first and entered the same point. Smaller throwing knives were held in pockets on the outside of the scabbards, larger daggers on the opposite side of the sword belt.
“We usually fight with a sword in one hand, a dagger in the other,” Elrohir explained. “We are very used to practicing against one another; it is always good to practice against someone else, if you are willing?”
“Yo, Ro!” Faith said, with a grin. “But I’d sure like to watch the two of you first.”
The twins moved to the centre of the room and began to circle each other, lunging, testing, deflecting sword blades with daggers. It was beautiful, and amazingly erotic, to watch them. After six or seven minutes of this, Elrohir finally got a thrust under his brother’s guard, with so much force that Faith couldn’t believe, for a split second, that he could pull the move before seriously damaging Elladan. But he did. About a quarter inch from his brother’s chest.
Elladan solemnly handed over a gold coin. Then equally solemnly he handed his sword and dagger over to Faith “Unless you would prefer your own? I wouldn’t like to think I was giving Elrohir any advantage!”
“You trust me to be able to stop like he did?” she asked, seriously.
“If you are good enough to get through his guard, then you are good enough to be able to stop before you reach his skin,” came the answer.
“And if you have any plans for other forms of ‘sparring’ you will want to keep my body in full working order…” Elrohir said, with a slow smile. “Although what makes you think you will get through my guard?”
“Skill, Ro baby, pure skill!” said Faith, smiling right back, and taking her position in the middle of the floor bearing Elladan’s weapons.
The first bout lasted less than two minutes until Faith found herself with a sword point at her throat.
“Take your time,” came a voice from the sidelines. “With an orc, or other stupid opponents, you can go for the first opening and get through much of the time. Although even then they might beat you once – and once would be enough. Against a warrior you will lose most of the time if you lunge for the first gap.”
“Yada yada, you sound exactly like a Watcher,” Faith said, sticking her tongue out at Elladan. “I got no gold pieces, Ro; I’ll have to owe you…”
“It will be a few lost bouts before you owe us anything,” he answered. “You have prepaid in clothes, cakes, and ice-cream.”
The next bout with Elrohir lasted longer. Faith almost got through his guard a few times, he almost got through hers, and she was really beginning to enjoy it when he finally flipped her sword out of her hand with his dagger and had the point of his sword almost in her armpit.
“Again Ro; that was fun!” she said.
On the third attempt she finally bested the elf much to his obvious amusement. Although the smile might just have been because his brother was right – she could pull her stroke as close to Elrohir’s chest as he had to Elladan’s.
The brothers changed places, Elladan reclaimed his weapons, and Faith took Elrohir’s instead.
It took Elladan almost ten minutes to win the bout and, although like his brother he fought with a totally impassive face, once the dagger was at Faith’s throat all three were grinning.
When she bested him in the next bout, with a sword to his chest and a dagger at his groin, Elladan was positively gleeful – to Faith’s amusement.
“You are a very quick learner,” he said. “A great warrior. It is a pleasure to spar with you. I, too, am learning – which is always a joy to me!”
“What weapons do you have here of your own?” Elrohir asked.
Faith opened the weapons chest, and soon three dark heads were poring over a selection of stakes, staffs, swords and crossbows.
“You will have to come through the portal into Ithilien,” Elladan said, “so that you can try one of our bows – we did not bring them through with us as we were behind Legolas and his warriors…”
Faith tossed him a staff and, as they took up positions opposite each other again, told him it was a deal.
They had fought with an assortment of weapons, in different permutations of weapon and opponent, when Faith found herself straddling Elrohir on the floor, groin to groin, her hands on his chest.
Time to change the game, she decided. All this fighting had given her the horn. She ground her hips against his meaningfully.
“C’mon, Ro! Time to get down and dirty, you know you want to!” she said, unzipping her trousers and wriggling out of them before settling back above him.
The elf underneath her lay totally still but raised an eyebrow, “Just like that?” he asked.
“Just like this!” she answered, reaching for the lacings on his leggings.
He looked across at his brother, still not moving a muscle, and Faith wondered if they were doing that mind-speaking thing between themselves. His gaze came back to Faith who realised that she was releasing an already impressive dick which was hardening rapidly.
‘Ha!’ she thought, ‘don’t try telling me that you’re not feeling it too! Just let me ride that
for a few minutes and you’ll know all about Slayer muscles!’
Except that, although she was on top, she suddenly wasn’t in charge. The elf was inside her, the rhythm was taken from her, there were a few quick slicks with a finger and “Aaagh! Fuck! Ro!” she was gasping for breath after an orgasm that had hit her almost out of the blue.
The elf stopped moving as she tried to steady herself with her hands which were still on his chest. He made no move to continue towards any sort of release for himself. Then a cool voice came from the edge of the practice area.
“That should have scratched your itch, Faith. Relieved the tension, eh? Like emptying your bladder when it is full. And only slightly more enjoyable…”
Then, although she hadn’t been aware of him moving, Elladan was behind her, speaking softly in her ear, his breath warm on her skin.
“Perhaps now we could play this
game according to our
His tongue briefly touched her earlobe. Faith found she was holding her breath but the tongue did not touch her again. There was movement behind her and a 49ers T-shirt hit the floor beside her trousers, then Elladan pulled her T-shirt over her head, leaving her nakedly straddling a fully dressed elf.
Hair brushed against her back before Elladan spoke in her other ear.
“The winner in this game is not the person who comes quickest. The aim is to keep going until the other person, or people, begs you to stop because they have no more energy or because they cannot take any more pleasure.
“So the question is,” his tongue flicked against the top of Faith’s ear this time, making her gasp, “are you willing to take us on in this contest? Do you think you can hold one of us, or even both of us, at the edge without letting us jump over it? Then take us back to the same point again? Can you resist begging for mercy if we hold you at that point for an hour or two, or push you over it five or six times?
“Or do you just want a quick fuck and we declare ourselves the winners?”
Faith was never a Slayer to turn down a challenge… but there were two of them…
Before she could object to the odds Elrohir, still embedded in Faith and pinned to the floor by her knees on either side of him, caught her eye and winked. “Of course, if I am going to win, I will need to sometimes help you to make Elladan squirm…”
“And,” came the voice from behind her again, “I may find it to my advantage to help you push him
over the edge…”
“So”, Elrohir concluded, “it is not always the same two against the same one…do those rules sound reasonable, Slayer?”
Three or four hours later all three participants declared this round to be a draw. The Els admitted that she had some of the best muscles they had ever come across, or inside for that matter, but they also admitted that they were capable of continuing this particular contest for twenty-odd hours without giving in; they had once managed to keep going with two ellyth for three days pausing only for fluid intake and bathroom breaks…
Faith had discovered that there were some very interesting ways to pleasure and be pleasured that she had not tried before. Some of them involving two impressive elven dicks; some of them involving nothing more than carefully aimed breath or the beads that weighed down the ends of the Els’ braids.
She could certainly see why Dawn might have decided quite quickly to stay in Middle Earth…
They tidied the room, locked up the weapons, and headed back to 1630 Revello Drive.
After a raid on Buffy’s refrigerator they retired to Buffy’s bedroom for another ‘round’. Faith knew her fellow Slayer would make her suffer for that later, but hey, she could hardly take the Els down to the house where Robin and half a dozen Slayers were asleep; B might shout, but she’d get over it.
As the sun began to rise the Els decided they needed to bathe. Faith thought they might be impressed with the shower but they said it was not unlike the plumbing in the King’s House at Minas Tirith. Buffy’s shower was a bit of a tight fit for three which led to some interesting manoeuvres to wash everyone’s hair.
On the whole, the Els had been less impressed with twenty-first century California than Faith might have expected, but she finally found something, apart from ice-cream, that they fell on with envious glee. Buffy’s hairdryer!
They were actually considering how to get the dwarves to generate electricity for them when they heard everyone else return through the portal.
Before they went downstairs Elrohir passed Faith a small bottle and told her to drink it to keep her strength up – she hadn’t slept for nearly twenty-four hours, and still had to come with them and see a little of their world.
She looked at it suspiciously. “Medicine?”
Well, whatever that was, there was obviously no straight translation. Faith took the stopper from the bottle and sniffed, expecting something medicinal no matter what Elrohir called it, but it smelled of honey and flowers with an undertone of hooch. She took a tiny sip – woot! That was good stuff. She took another couple of mouthfuls, and rolled it around her mouth appreciatively before swallowing, then passed the empty little bottle back to Elrohir with a grin.
“Oh boy, Ro, that is the best moonshine I’ve ever tasted!”
“Moonshine? It is a lovely thought, indeed, but it is mainly made from honey. Some of the honey is from night-flowers though. I like the idea that it is liquid moonshine,” Elladan said, joining the conversation.
Faith was going to explain, but decided it might take too much time, and she now felt like the Energizer Bunny.
“Yo, guys,” she said, “let’s go explore your world for as long as we’ve got!”
Chief blond elf (‘Legolas’ did Dawn say?) looked less uptight than he had when Faith had arrived the evening before. The Els passed some remarks about seeing things he couldn’t imagine, and doing things he doubtless could, which earned them a full blown eye-roll. She didn’t think he’d have let the ‘mask’ slip that much the evening before.
Actually he was quite cute; the blonds were all quite cool looking but, on the whole, Faith thought she’d done pretty well out of the deal…
“Come, Faith,” said Elladan, “we would show you some of Middle Earth – even if it is only a little of my Lord Legolas’s domain. There is no time to show you Imladris which is, of course, much better…”
“Alas, poor Faith,” said the lordship in question totally straight-faced, “to have put up with the company of my Lords Elladan and Elrohir and then to see only Ithilien. I apologize that my sister wished this sad fate upon you.”
‘Sister?’ Faith thought, and then realised that he meant Dawn. Also that he was joking.
“Well, it’s a tough job,” she drawled, “but someone’s go to do it…”
When they stepped through into Ithilien the Els stopped and took deep breaths.
“I am afraid,” Elladan said, “that your air smelled almost as bad to us as the unmoving air of the Paths of the Dead, or the poisoned air of Mordor.”
“And your world is sometimes very noisy,” his brother added. “It is painful to elven ears at times.”
Faith sniffed the air suspiciously. “Yeah – it does smell different. And it’s kinda quiet…”
It was still light but obviously early evening as the sun filtered through the trees at a low angle.
“Shame you didn’t quite get the time totally synchronised, as we got all night time,” she continued, “and the poor vampire got all day time,” she finished, with a grin.
“Actually,” Elrohir said, “it was carefully calculated to be dawn here and dusk in California when the portal was opened.”
“In less than perfect light elves will usually have the advantage,” Elladan explained, “and dawn for us meant we were rested and ready for battle if necessary, whereas those on the other side of the portal would be more likely to be tired if it was dusk there.”
“Or just waking,” his brother added, “if they were nocturnal.”
“I’m impressed,” the Slayer admitted, “but it still means that if you are going to show me anything that requires daylight we’d better hurry.”
The elves simply took off at a loping run; not even looking to see if she was following. They were taking a path though trees. The trees all looked much the same to Faith; she reckoned if she lost her way she’d probably still be wandering around when the portal closed, good thing she could keep up.
Before long they reached some wooden buildings. The Els veered off to one side and soon all three were standing in a long clearing with targets set up at one end. There were storage chests and a small hut as well – obviously a shooting range of some sort. A couple of elves seemed to be tidying up the area; they nodded greetings at the Els but didn’t stop what they were doing.
“Our own bows are in our rooms, but there are perfectly good ones here,” Elladan said, striding towards one of the storage chests. “Perhaps not the Galadhrim bows; an Eryn Lasgalen design would be best.”
His brother was taking quivers from another chest and filling them with arrows.
“Practice arrows. We would usually use our own arrows, as well as our own bows, but we can all use any arrow. We will use the arrows of the enemy if we need to,” Elrohir explained, tossing a full quiver towards Elladan, who caught it one-handed without spilling an arrow.
Faith expected them to aim at the targets but Elrohir, as soon as he had a bow in his hands, tested the draw strength then nocked an arrow and fired it straight into the air.
Before Faith could even wonder why he had done it, Elladan had nocked an arrow, also fired almost vertically – and knocked Elrohir’s arrow from its flight path so that they fell together. Before they had reached the ground Elladan shot, and Elrohir had hit that one with his
This continued, neither missing, for six arrows each – and it took all of about twenty seconds.
Elladan smiled at Faith, “Legolas can do that to both of us together if we shoot at that rate – and he will take all twelve every time. That is why he wears an archer’s braids and I wear a swordsman’s!”
“Okay”, said Faith, “Colour me impressed. Except that I don’t understand the bit about the braids…”
“We will explain later, but if you want to feel the draw of one of the bows while you can still see the targets, you had better try now,” Elladan answered, passing her a bow and an arrow.
“Not really my weapon of choice, guys,” Faith said, but she gave it her best shot.
Being used to the flatter trajectory of a crossbow bolt she over-corrected with her first arrow. Elrohir came over to her, stood behind her, and adjusted both her stance and her hand on the bow. This time she aimed a little lower and the arrow hit the outer ring of the target – about two hundred yards away. Her next two each struck closer to the centre.
“Not bad,” said Elrohir, casually taking the other bow from his brother, and putting an arrow into the centre of the same target with no obvious effort.
“Yeah – well I said it wasn’t my weapon of choice!” Faith said, feeling slightly annoyed.
“Yes,” Elladan said calmly, “and even so, with a few years practice you would be as good as he is. And he first drew a bow when he was only a few years older than Haldirin so he has had nearly three thousand years of practice.”
“You could, how did you put it? Colour us impressed,” Elrohir added, then took another bow from another chest, felt the tension of the string and passed it to Faith.
“This is a Galadhrim bow such as Rumil uses. Legolas also uses one some of the time, and we have been taught to, but it is not our weapon of choice as you say. I am simply curious to see how you adjust to it – I am sure that you have the strength, but it may be too long for you,” he finished, passing it to Faith.
It was longer by far than Faith’s height, and she could not pull the string back properly as her arms simply were not long enough.
“Fuck, guys, I’d have to stand on a box, and my arms would still be too short!” she said, in defeat.
“Purely a matter of height rather than strength, though,” Elrohir said somewhat pensively.
“Aha!” Elladan’s voice sounded triumphant, “I thought I had seen one of these somewhere.”
He held up a much shorter bow, somewhat different in shape. “A Haradrim bow, designed for use on horseback, made from a number of different layers to give draw strength similar to the Galadhrim bow,” he explained.
Elrohir felt the draw weight, and then passed this bow to Faith, with a handful of suitable arrows.
It did take more strength to draw this bow, despite its shorter length, but after a moment or two she nocked her first arrow and fired. This arrow again shot over the target; but the next one scraped the top of the target and not only the Els, but the two other elves that Faith had forgotten about, broke into spontaneous applause.
Faith turned, gave a bow, and then had one more go. It was painful on the muscles, more because it was unaccustomed exercise rather than the actual forces involved, but she wasn’t going to admit it. The third arrow thudded into the target properly, pretty close to the centre.
The Els kissed her one on either cheek and, on the side of the field, one elf could be seen solemnly handing a handful of gold pieces to the other one.
“You mean you two didn’t have money on me?” she asked, trying to sound insulted.
“No time,” Elrohir said, “and no point in wagering with each other on it – we both believed you’d hit the target by the third arrow anyway…”
The bows and arrows were put away and the threesome turned towards the buildings Faith had noticed earlier. As they walked they tried to swap swear words but, of course, the translation spell meant that they always heard the words in their own language. By the third of fourth attempt all were laughing out loud, bringing smiles to a couple of female elves also walking towards the group of buildings.
As they got closer Faith could see that the buildings were almost all wooden; they reminded her of something she had seen in a story book in kindergarten on one of the odd days her mother had taken her there. It looked pretty but, Faith thought, it would probably not be her idea of civilised living.
The Els spoke briefly to two or three elves as they walked towards a building in the centre of what Faith guessed you could call a town. They walked straight in – no sign of any door locks – and were in a sitting room. Faith had to admit the low seats looked comfortable, but she reckoned she would feel more at home if there was a television in a corner…
There was glass in the windows, unlike in some of the buildings they had passed, and a big fireplace full of logs in the room but there was no fire.
“This is the guest accommodation,” Elrohir said as they carried on through the room. “Our sister, her husband, and children stay here when they visit Ithilien. Aragorn and the children are mortal, they feel the cold, and they are used to glass in their windows. Most of the elves don’t bother with glass – we prefer the air to be able to move…”
‘Poor Dawn – she must freeze in the winter,’ Faith thought, ‘sexy elf to keep her warm or not!’
Behind the sitting room there was a kitchen and what seemed to be a bathroom. That had an enormous tub, something that looked like a shower area, and a screened off corner that Faith reckoned must have a toilet behind it.
Elladan opened a cupboard in the kitchen and Faith could see there were bottles of wine in a rack behind it. He removed two of them while Elrohir opened a tall cabinet and took out three blue glass goblets. It occurred to Faith that the kitchen looked a bit bare – no electric range, no refrigerator, no microwave or dishwasher. There was a large sink with a faucet – so at least some sort of running water – and a range which seemed to burn wood.
There were another couple of rooms, but the twins headed for the staircase which wound its way around a tree that seemed to grow through the middle of the building. Upstairs seemed to be bigger than downstairs; Faith realised that it wasn’t built simply on top of the lower floor, it was more like a large tree house – the sort of thing she’d seen on TV as a kid and secretly always wanted. But probably not to live in…
Elrohir pushed open a door and they walked into a room that was about twice the size of the main rooms of the houses in Revello Drive. There were comfortable chairs, a table, a large dresser chest, an enormous armoire, and a bed that looked big enough to hold at least four people. All the furniture was softly curving and intricately carved – there were no sharp corners anywhere – there was a lot of natural wood while fabrics were all creams and greens. Quite a room.
Faith eyed up the bed; she guessed the size was practical, as elves all seemed to be well over six feet tall, and she could understand now what Dawn had meant when she said her bed in Sunnydale felt too small.
Elrohir must have noticed her eyeing up the bed, as he commented “Much though I would enjoy entertaining you in my bed, I fear there is probably too little time.”
“What – that’s just for you?” Faith asked, only partly joking, “I thought it must be for both of you, it is so big!”
“No”, Elladan answered, with that dead-pan expression that Faith realised often accompanied the most outrageous statements, “Legolas decided a couple of years ago that we were old enough to have a room each when we visit...”
He pushed open a large door and Faith realised there was a long, wide, balcony outside. Soon all three were sitting out on it, a small table between them, glasses of wine in hand, watching the comings and goings of the residents of Ithilien.
The twins pointed out a number of buildings starting with the ‘town hall’ complex where the others had been earlier in the day which linked back, via an elevated walkway, to a smaller building that Elladan said was Legolas’ private apartment. Legolas’ home somehow looked as if it started in a tree and reached down to the ground rather than the other way round.
Beside it, sitting solidly on the ground, was a stone building with small windows which Elladan explained was the home of Legolas’ close friend Gimli when he visited Ithilien. Something in his tone when he explained that Gimli was a dwarf made Faith realise that this was something of an unusual friendship.
Further back among the trees was the ‘cottage’ Tindómë shared with Rumil. Elladan said that, like most of the Galadhrim, Rumil felt happier above ground level. But the trees of Ithilien were still recovering from years of damage and so many of the buildings of Ithilien were built between two or three trees, with some support from the ground, rather than supported by one tree like the talans of Caras Galadhon. Faith wondered how safe it was, to live at the same level that they were currently sitting, with a small child. The Els both laughed.
“Haldirin has Silvan blood,” Elrohir explained, “he can already walk in the branches almost as easily as he can on the ground. Perhaps not so easily as Legolas doubtless did as a child, but the trees would not let an elfling fall if they could stop it, so he is really in no danger!”
‘The trees wouldn’t let an elfling fall?’ Faith thought perhaps it was easier to just not go there.
She sipped the wine and watched as it became dark and lights began to twinkle around them. After a little while Elladan lit a large oil lamp and placed it on the table; while Elrohir went into the room and came out again with a sheet of paper and what looked like a fountain pen.
“We would like you to write a letter for us, in your language,” he said.
Faith eyed the pen suspiciously and wished she’d brought her purse with its roller-ball pen in it, but didn’t really feel that she could refuse.
She held the pen firmly and waited.
Elladan began to dictate “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...”
By the time the two elves had dictated their letter, and signed with their beautiful form of writing, Faith felt a tear running down her cheek.
Elrohir wiped it up with a finger, tilted her face towards him and said “We would be family to you, too, if you wanted to stay here until the end of your days.”
Faith was genuinely touched but answered, slowly, “It’s a lovely thought, Ro, but it’s not where I belong. I couldn’t adapt like Dawn, uh Domie, has. I’m happier with all the mod cons of life in America.
“You guys could come back with me though,” she added cheerfully, although inside she was almost serious.
“Sadly I do not think that is possible,” Elladan said.
“Immortals living amongst mortals is not a good idea,” his brother added.
“Elves would not survive well there, I fear,” Elladan continued.
“We are like the trees – we are deeply rooted in our own land,” Elrohir said, sadly.
There was an undercurrent to that remark that Faith couldn’t quite put her finger on, but before she could ponder it Elladan said, in an end-of-conversation sort of voice, “And, whilst your dimension is, indeed, a fascinating place to visit, we wouldn’t want to live there!”
“So,” Elrohir changed the subject, “you were asking about warrior braids when we were on the practice ground…”
There was something almost hypnotic about sitting outdoors in softly lit, clear, evening air, sipping wine and having your hair combed and braided by two sexy guys. It had erotic undertones, but the Els gave the impression that they were purposely trying to soothe rather than arouse, if they had wanted it to be arousing it certainly could have been.
A voice from below broke into Faith’s reverie, “Elladan, Elrohir, it is time for your guest to return to the portal.”
Looking down she could see a vaguely familiar elf with a small elfling sitting on his shoulders.
“Have they worn you out, my lady?” Orophin asked, “Or did she wear you out, my lords?”
“My lady?” Faith mouthed at Elrohir.
“Orophin has forgotten your name,” he answered.
“Orophin was not introduced to the lady,” came the voice from below.
“Orophin, this is Faith, Slayer and warrior extraordinary,” Elladan said, in a formal tone. “Faith, this is Orophin, Second in Command of the Wardens of Ithilien, husband-brother to Tindómë, uncle to the bravest elfling in Middle Earth. Consider yourself introduced!”
“So, have they worn you out, Faith?” The voice had a hint of amusement.
“No way!” she answered.
“Orophin,” Elrohir replied simultaneously, “it would take you and both your esteemed brothers, at the height of your fame, to wear this warrior out in the short time we have had available.”
“But it has been our pleasure to attempt it…” Elladan added.
‘Him and both his brothers? Height of their fame? That would include Dawn’s husband?’ Faith ran it through her mind a couple of times and decided that if she was Giles she would probably be polishing her glasses so hard by this point that smoke would be rising.
“Well I hope you all got a great deal of pleasure,” Orophin continued cheerfully, “but it is time to go, I fear.”
“Come on Uncle Dan, Uncle Rohir,” said the elfling, reminding Faith that they had just been discussing sex in front of him. Probably didn’t understand, anyway…
“Come on, me and Uncle Phin are going to get Mummy again, and Radagast says no-one will take her away ever again.” Haldirin sounded excited.
“Uncle Phin and I,” Elladan corrected automatically, earning him an amused look from his brother.
“We are coming, small one,” Elrohir said, and vaulted over the edge of the balcony to land beside Orophin.
“You do have the letter safe?” Elladan asked Faith.
“Yo, Dan,” she said, patting the back pocket of her tight trousers, and then, not to be outdone, dropped beside Elrohir. Elladan followed, and the small party of elves, elfling, and Slayer made their way back along the path towards the green glow of the portal.
By the time they arrived everyone was sorting themselves out to be on their own side of the portal, in their own world.
The Els stopped just short of the group on the Middle Earth side. Elrohir turned Faith towards himself and kissed her. Not a peck on the cheek, but a genuine, serious, three or four minute long kiss. “To remember me by,” he said, with a smile.
Elladan touched the beads worked into her hair. “These will be a physical token to remember us by,” he said softly, “and we will remember you for all eternity. So this is not for remembrance; simply for pleasure.” His kiss took even longer, and Faith understood what people meant when they spoke of a kiss making their toes curl.
They pushed her gently toward the portal. She stopped where Dawn was standing by Buffy, gave her a quick hug, and whispered “Hey, those guys are quite something! Thanks for dealing me in, Domie.”
She stood just at the portal, blew kisses to the two Els, and stepped back into Sunnydale. The big guy in the brown robes chased Buffy back after Faith, and then stuck a small knife into Dawn’s thumb to cause her blood to run onto the ground.
The portal shimmered, and just as it began to disappear she heard Elrohir’s voice “The word is…”
“Huitho!” Elladan finished, and this time it wasn’t translated.
“Huitho!” Faith called back and then the portal was no more.
“Huitho?” Giles asked.
“Huitho!” Faith confirmed, but didn’t translate. Let him keep guessing.
Next day Faith gave Buffy the letter from the twins and even held her sister Slayer, albeit awkwardly, when she burst into tears. The twin elves really had been quite amazing guys. Faith was glad she’d had the chance to meet them – she’d learned a few things from them, for sure. Not just how to say “Fuck!” in Sindarin or about the ‘desires of the body’ either.
Many times over her life, when decisions had to be made, Faith would hear Elladan’s voice, deep within herself, saying “Never accept that you can just be insulted like that. Never accept that you have so little worth.
“You are a beautiful young woman who should not accept being insulted, put-down, or being made to feel that you are in any way ‘less’ than anyone else. Never forget that, Faith.”
She never did.
And if Robin Wood, or subsequent lovers, asked why she often slept in an old 49ers T-shirt she would just smile and say “not for remembrance; simply for pleasure.”The End.
** The full text of the letter that Faith wrote, for the twins to send to Buffy, can be found in the epilogue of Return of The Key.
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.