Hope and Wedding Gifts
Still going and thank you for all the reviews and for the recs from aria, buffyneedsaman, ErisMom, kaliGofD, macalaarmstrong and Vickzie.
Buffy awoke peacefully and with a kiss to the top of the head. She smiled softly, "Mmm good morning."
"Morning melleth." It was nice this little bit of peace in their room. It was like their room was cocooned away from all the craziness. If they didn't open the door then they wouldn't have to do anything. It was a great feeling but sadly if there was one thing they understood it was duty.
"We have to get up?" She said with a hint of whine in her voice, not that she'd admit it - ever!
Aragorn was also enjoying the sense of normality, and the rightness that seeped into his core from sleeping next to Buffy. It was a feeling that he would fight to keep.
Buffy was working with Eowyn to make sure that the women and children would be safe. She was walking through the caves looking for any strategic advantages.
"What we need to find are nooks and crannies"
Eowyn could only hope that Eomer's intended was easier to understand. "I do not understand."
Buffy sighed, "You and everyone else. Okay, what I mean is that a few of you can fight but you need the others hidden... If you're worrying about the children you'll get distracted and then you'll die."
Buffy wasn't blind, Eowyn wanted the glory of battle, she'd been caged for too long. She just wanted to make sure that she stayed alive, and if that took a few harsh words then so be it.
Any further words were cut off by the arrival of a harried Hama. "My lady you should come with me to the armoury."
Buffy rolled her eyes wondering what on earth was wrong now. She stood up, glad that she was still wearing the leather trousers now that they were freshly laundered. "Lead the way and tell me what is wrong on the way."
Buffy appeared at the end of a particularly charged argument between Legolas and Aragorn. Legolas was storming off as Aragorn bellowed, "Then I shall die as one of them!"
Buffy watched the irate elf storm past her, before she calmly walked up to Aragorn. "Okay, wanna tell me what that is about?"
"He thinks that Theoden's plan is a bad one, and he can't stand the idea of children fighting."
She understood, to and elf the idea of such young children would be particularly abhorrent. "I was a child when I was forced to fight. This is worse, but Theoden has no choice."
Aragorn gave her a look, one that she understood. Yes, the King had another choice but had refused to do it. She gave in to him that he had a point, "Okay so he had a choice but this is the path they have chosen. They feel safer here."
"What do we do Melleth?" He sounded frustrated and she knew that the toil of all that they were facing was starting to wear him down.
Buffy smiled softly, kissing his cheek, trying to remind him of the more positive things in the world. "You lead, you show the men that there is hope. We have to wait until Gandalf can bring reinforcements."
Aragorn pulled her in for a hug, gaining the strength and comfort that he needed. He wouldn't have before being made aware of the bond, but now they were far more affectionate, and intimacy was increasing gradually. "I will be strong."
Buffy pulled back, "Good. Now I'm gonna go talk to elf-boy and then you're are both going to spar against me."
Aragorn was a gentlemen, and did not like those numbers, "Melleth, are you sure?"
Buffy grinned knowing that they would draw a crowd. "Oh more than sure. Don't worry love you won't hurt me. And it will give these people hope."
It was primarily to give the people hope, but also because she was getting restless and knew better than to let a restless slayer loose. There lay the path to madness - lots, and lots of madness.
Buffy caught up with the irate prince when he sat upon the stone steps situated next to the giant portcullis. It really did show the dwarven craftsmanship off to it's finest. She sighed and decided to shock him out of his depression, "You know for a Prince ... you sure do pout a lot."
That earned her a scowl, which just made her smirk, "So you move up to scowling. Impressive."
"They are children." The anguish was clear for all to hear. It made Buffy soften a bit, but she would make sure her point was well made.
"I'm gonna tell you a story about a young girl. She was told that she alone could fight the darkness on her world. She would have the strength, but she alone."
Legolas frowned, "Did she fight?"
"Yes!" Buffy smiled remembering the air-headed cheerleader, "She did, and you know what? I still fight today."
Legolas startled out of his mood, "You were a child?"
Buffy was a little rueful, "Yeah, but these people have something I didn't." It was amazing how much one could grow in less than a decade. Although not trying to sound flippant; she'd died a lot since then and in truth there was very little else to fear.
"What?" He needed to know, it was not only the people of Rohan, who needed hope.
"Friends, support." Buffy wasn't trying to downplay the help given to her by the Scooby's. She was referring to her time in LA with Merrick.
"They are so young to die."
Buffy sighed, wondering why she'd ended up debating immortality with an Elf. Irony much? "I have died three times; there is nothing to fear from death. I fear that I won't be able to help the people left behind, but there is nothing else to fear."
Legolas smiled weakly, "You really are perfect for Aragorn. Although one might caution you to be a little more cautious once in awhile."
Buffy smirked, "Good now I want you and Aragorn to fight me."
He wondered what she was planning. He was wrapped up in the whirlwind of a devious Slayer's mind, and by the time they had reached the armoury he was also smirking. He couldn't help but admire how sneaky Aragorn's wife was.
They saw a young boy, he couldn't have been more than 10 pick up a sword. He look so scared, and Legolas grasped the sword delicately. He offered a casual, "This is a good sword, don't you think my lady?"
Buffy cocked her head in assessment, "I do believe it is, shall we test it out?"
"Melleth?" Came the question, warning all wrapped up in one word. Honestly, Buffy thought, wasn't the woman meant to nag?
"Come spar?" She asked playfully.
The sound of steel meeting steel was all that was heard as Legolas had swung the sword down. Buffy laughed in delight as she summoned the scythe to her side to meet it above her head. She looked back at Aragorn, "You coming?"
The fortress was treated to a display of swordsmanship that would be talked about for years to come. The two male warriors, and one female warrior were sparing, but this was no gentle exercise. They were playing a particular vicious game of cat and mouse. The men were fighting against the woman, but it was clear to all while they were good - she was better. The sparring lasted for a good length of time, enough for the courtyard to gain quite a crowd.
The fight was not just using swords, Buffy was showing a very valid point. In a fight you used whatever you had to - be it swords; hands; feet; sticks. The crowds were cheering and none more than Eowyn.
"Last man standing!" Was the shout that Legolas called.
Buffy snorted, "Yeah, nice try."
Well he had just taken Aragorn down using a very sneaky manoeuvre that Buffy would demand to learn. Buffy smirked, and cocked her hand in a move reminiscent of Bruce Lee. It was funny but it seemed to convey the same message here in Middle Earth.
There fight turned epic, they were quick of feet, nimble in body and downright sneaky with their moves. Buffy shouted, "Sword."
The crowds frowned but Aragorn chuckled, and threw his sword. Buffy's outstretched hand caught the sword, earning her an 'ooo' from the crowd. The spar didn't last much longer, she caught him with a vicious leg sweep, and before he could recover. He found twin swords being point at his throat. He chuckled softly, "You have me beat my lady."
Buffy's grin was blinding, she truly did love a good spar, nothing got her hotter, or made her happier. "I win."
The King, clapped in delight. It made him especially glad that all three were on their side. He had caught only a taste of what they were capable of in the skirmish against the Wargs. "We are honoured that you will fight with us my lady."
Buffy smiled demurely, which was just plain ironic considering the skill she had just displayed with her sword. "Thank you my King. My Lord indulges my whims."
Theoden chuckled, "I'm not sure Gondor will remain standing should you have a fight."
Buffy shrugged, flippant and carefree, or at least that was the image she was carefully showing, "Well it is a good thing I have an army of foes to vent my anger against."
A day later, the darkness had descended and the rain was lashing down. Gimli, Legolas, Aragorn and Buffy stood on the fortress wall. The men having seen her display yesterday didn't balk at taking orders from the Slayer today. There was also the small fact that now with the fight so near; she had given free reign to the Slayer. And most people knew when a predator was present- even when it was one they didn't understand.
"I mean did they have to make it rain?" Buffy complained.
Gimli snorted, "Least you can see over the walls lassie."
"Barely." She retorted. She'd gotten over the height issue, when she met the Hobbits.
As they looked over the end of the valley they saw the massive army congregating. However Buffy's senses could feel something else. She was looking all around, knowing of the way to reach their from the south.
Legolas was like her, although he was still content to tease his friend. "Shall I find you a box."
"I don't want a box laddie," he boomed. "Just an orc neck for me to bury my axe in."
Buffy laughed, "You are a dwarf after my own heart."
That earned her a mischievous smile, "Oh lassie, if you weren't bonded I'd show you all the delights of the dwarven kingdom."
Aragorn felt the need to join in, "Thankfully I am bonded. Can you content yourself with my kingdom melleth?"
Buffy grinned and a smile graced her features; it spoke of new hope. "Yep, your kingdom and bossing you will see me good for our years together." She seemed to squint into the distance before she clapped her hands in delight.
In her head, she heard the Elven queen's voice once again, "A general should have an army. I hope you can make use of this one."
Buffy did a little jig, hell she felt like doing the snoopy dance. "Hey Legolas get ready to meet some friends."
The horn of the Elves was heard, and Buffy was not the only one grinning. "Pull the gate open they are on our side."
Buffy, Aragorn and Legolas ran to the gate to join Theoden. In time to hear the lead elf's explanation, "Long ago we two races forged an alliance. Now in a time of great need my Queen had asked that we join you once again under the command of the Lady Summer."
The King looked in surprise, but Buffy was just laughing, as she turned to her husband, "You know your grandmother sends me the best wedding gifts."
It was definitely true, the elves had adopted him in his youth and Aragorn could not argue that it was a spectacular wedding gift. They had to survive a night and day before Gandalf's promised return. It just looked possible now.
So that's all for now, nexy chapter sees the return of some characters that have been missed for a few chapters!