Note: OK this really is the last chapter due to people complaining that I didn’t give them proper “closure”. This really is it guys. I’m serious this time.
Haldir reined his horse in, forelock deep in the surf and laughed as his friends galloped past him, trying to outdo each other. The racing horses had kicked up water left, right and centre and Haldir was soaked through to the skin. He flipped his wet blonde hair out of his eyes and led his horse back up on to the beach. He sat himself down on the soft sand and pulled his boots off, tipping water out of one and then the other. The two horse riders had turned and were now racing back along the shoreline.
His brilliant eyesight told him that the first blonde figure, crouched low over the horse, the slender frame moving in perfect synch with the horse was Buffy Summers. Legolas’ horse was only a length away from her but still Buffy urged her horse on, eager to win. Haldir called out to her, encouraging her on but Legolas, his hundreds of years of skill pushed his horse on and inch by inch caught up with Buffy and then they were neck and neck, hair flying, breathing hard and focused.
Legolas called out in jubilation as he passed Buffy, reaching the mark they had designated as the winning post a hair’s breadth before she did. He slowed and then brought his horse round to face Buffy’s. Water dripped from the horses’ manes and tails and Buffy shook her head, her braided hair flinging water droplets everywhere. Her deep green dress was damp from the water, she had ridden at the front most of the race and, unlike Haldir and Legolas, was nowhere near as wet as they were. She grinned at Legolas, wiping the water from her face, her skin flushed from the racing. Legolas thought she had never looked so beautiful.
The two of them trotted up the beach to where Haldir was sitting. The Lorien elf was now squeezing the water out of his hair.
“Its only water Hal” Buffy jumped down from her horse and reached into her pocket. The apple she had put in there was bruised now but her horse didn’t care. Gordo snuffled her hand before delicately snapping the apple up in his teeth and crunching on it happily.
“You’re not the one who is soaked to the skin” grumped Haldir.
“Then, my friend, I suggest you win next time” Legolas remained in the saddle of his horse, sitting tall and proud in the saddle.
“Next time I win? We’ve been racing for months Legolas, I haven’t won since Galadriel’s Festival. You need a new companion. Someone who doesn’t mind getting soaked on a daily basis.”
Legolas and Buffy only laughed at the grumpy elf. Buffy ran her fingers through Haldir’s hair, pulling out the watery tangles until it hung smooth down his back. Her own hair had been braided into tiny plaits which clung to her hair and then hung down her back in a long ponytail. Her hair had grown down to touch the bottom of her back.
Buffy’s hair was not the only thing which had changed over the years that she had spent in Valinor. Even after that first talk with Galadriel, it had only been the first step in what was a long recovery from her trauma. Everyone had been very kind to her but Buffy had still taken a while to learn that nothing was demanded of her. She had spent hours walking with Bilbo and Frodo, their cheerful natures lightening her heart, making her laugh. Gandalf and Elrond watched her as she grew from the broken woman into a joyous carefree girl, brightening up any room she walked into. She had sat with them both telling them about her own world. Gandalf had wanted to hear stories of her friends, Giles, Xander and Willow, feeling it was important that she didn’t completely forget her previous life. These long talks helped Buffy come to terms with her memories of her old life. She missed them all incredibly, especially her sister Dawn. Buffy usually spent some time each morning with Galadriel, meditating or sometimes just sitting in silence in the meadow where they had first met.
Slowly but surely Buffy had recovered from the trauma of her death, enough to talk to Legolas about it. Legolas, unsure of what he was supposed to be doing, turned to his friend Haldir for support. Soon the three of them, Legolas, Haldir and Buffy, became inseparable. Whilst the hobbits, Gandalf and the other elves took care of Buffy’s welfare, helping her move on, Legolas and Haldir provided a welcome distraction teaching her to ride, practising their knife and bow skills with her, travelling around Valinor, camping out beneath the star studded skies.
Legolas’ love for Buffy had endured, and always would do. He was infinitely patient with her, waiting for her to turn to him when she needed him, wiping her tears away when they came, comforting her in the midst of her nightmares which had slowly dwindled away and now she slept peacefully throughout the night. She slept at his side, her head pillowed on his shoulder and his pale arms around her golden skin. He could not believe that he could ever be so lucky as to have the woman he had fallen in love with all those years ago. She was with him forever, alive and joyful.
Buffy leapt gracefully back on to her horse, Gordo, named for her stuffed pig. She still had some reminders of her previous life around her, her horse, she had a cat named Giles and one of the elves from Elrond’s household with amazing artistic skill had rendered lifelike pictures of Giles, Dawn, Willow and Xander as Buffy had described them as best she could. Buffy had these mounted on her walls of her chamber.
“We better be heading back” she called “we can’t be too late for the feast tonight.”
“You’ve turned into quite a party animal” Legolas had picked up Buffy’s language and occasionally sounded like a valley girl when he spoke. Buffy would never tell him this but smiled when she heard him speak as she would.
“Yep and this animal intends to party tonight.”
“What’s a party animal?” asked Haldir as they headed back to the City “is it dangerous?”