Disclaimer: I do not own Lord of the Rings or Buffy the Vampire Slayer
I want to send out a big thank you to my Beta Doublekross, and my second Beta Atypical Imagination. Thank you for your help.
Five months earlier...
There was complete darkness. Not even the moon to light their way through the forest, but they could still see everything. 'Sometimes it really pays to have slayer eyesight. It makes it so much easier to sneak up on people,' Buffy thought with amusement.
She eyed the movements of her sister slayer carefully and kept her eyes and ears open for anything else. It wouldn't be very funny if they were too busy sneaking up on people to notice someone else sneaking up on them. On the off chance that it happened, they'd handle it. They were slayers after all; improvising was their way of life. But something told her that if she let someone sneak up on her, Faith would never let her live it down. Hell, she'd never let herself live it down; it would simply be too embarrassing.
Buffy saw Faith move and froze. Faith held up four fingers. 'Huh', Buffy thought bemusedly, 'Four people on watch. They're being more careful then I thought they'd be.'
No fire, four people on watch...it spoke of caution and although the people they were sneaking up on were indeed very cautious people, Buffy couldn't help but think something must have happened along the way. Something to keep them on their guard, even when they were so close to home.
Faith gave Buffy the signal, and she carefully crept closer to one of the guards. She wasn't worried; he would be easy to take down. Compared to the vampires and demons she and Faith were used to fighting, sneaking up on this guard was no big deal.
She used all her stealth-which was clearly overkill-and descended on the guard. He didn't even see her sneak up on him. Buffy moved closer and closer, and could feel Faith doing the same with the other guard. When Buffy was close enough that she could reach out and slit his throat, she did what they came here to do.
"Hi," she said cheerfully. The guard jumped up in the air with a scream that woke up the entire camp.
She could see everyone grabbing for their weapons. Well, they were until they saw who exactly had caused such a stir.
"Buffy? Faith? What is the meaning of this? Do you enjoy waking an old dwarf from peaceful slumber?" Gloin son of Groin, bellowed.
"Sorry, father," Buffy and Faith said simultaneously.
"It was just so hard to resist," Buffy added, wearing a wide, innocent smile.
When Gloin saw their innocent-looking faces, his frown turned into an amused grin. "Ahh, my girls, always up to mischief," he said fondly. "Come here an greet your father."
Buffy hugged her father tightly, almost cracking his ribs in the process. "I've missed you, old man," she whispered, before stepping back to make room for Faith.
Faith gave him a quick hug and kissed his forehead. "Hiya, pops," she smirked. "Long time no see."
Gloin sighed in exasperation. "Why do you persist on calling me that ridiculous name?"
Faith's lips curled into an amused smirk. "Honestly? Because you hate it," she chuckled softly.
Buffy loved seeing Faith happy. She'd never seen her do much of it back in their own dimension. It might have had something to do with the fact that she had turned into a raging psychopath for a while, and then after that had come that whole redemption shtick. But somehow, she doubted that those situations had anything to do with the reason why Faith didn't smile much. Faith didn't really laugh before she went evil either. Well, she did laugh, but it was never genuine. It was always as if she was afraid someone would kick her in the head if she got too happy. Buffy's eyes flashed angrily; knowing Faith's history, somebody probably had.
She watched the happiness radiate of her sister and smiled, letting go of her anger. That life was gone now and no one could hurt Faith, not anymore. They were alright now. They were happy and they had a family. More importantly, they had each other. Buffy was glad that they did, because she knew for a fact that she couldn't have survived getting shipped to this medieval hick dimension without Faith.
When they had first gotten here, Buffy had thought she was going to lose it. Apart from the dwarves, the idiots in this dimension had obviously never heard of basic human rights, let alone women's lib. They had been lucky to find the company they now kept, because as Faith so aptly put it; 'Dwarves don't care if you're a chick or a dude. As long as you can swing a mean axe, all is right in the world.'
Buffy watched Faith fuss over their father and relaxed completely; everything was fine. Faith wasn't the person she used to be. Her life was different now - she didn't carry the weight of previous mistakes, and Buffy didn't carry the weight of the world. In this life, Faith was free. They both were.
Buffy's eyes roamed the campsite. There were a lot of angry dwarves scowling at her and her sister. Waking a dwarf from their beauty sleep was not a very wise course of action. But seeing them like this, she couldn't help but wonder what they were really mad about. Was it the fact that they had intentionally disturbed their sleep, or was it the fact that they woke up thinking they had a chance to kill enemies, and then found that it was just her and Faith?
Buffy thought it might have been the latter, 'cause dwarves did like their sleep, but not as much as they liked killing things, which was something Faith and Buffy had in common with them. "What happened, Dad? What's with the guards, lack of fire, and weapons under your pillow?" Buffy asked curiously.
"Bite your tongue lass! Dwarves do not sleep with pillows, we have no use for them!" he snarled with disgust. "We are not weak, comfort-needing elves!"
Faith started snickering. "Of course not, pops. No sweat, B didn't mean anything by it. It's just a figure of speech. Our lips are sealed, we won't mention anything about the pillow we know you have hidden in your room."
He froze. "How do you know about-I mean to say; what pillow? I have no clue as to what you're babbling about," he watched her carefully. "Girl, you would do well to mind your head when fighting those foul orcs. It's obvious to see you've been kicked too
many times, it clearly scrambled your brain."
He grinned happily. "Yes, that must be it, you've been kicked in the head so many times, you're starting to see pillows where there are none. Best not to speak of it again, wouldn't want the other dwarves to think you're feeble-minded, right lass?"
Buffy laughed while Faith just watched him with an incredulous look on her face. "Jeez Pops, its just a freakin' pillow, calm down."
Gloin shushed her and looked for people listening in on their conversation. When he found none, he turned back to Faith. "Shush, lass. Not so loud!"
"Yeah, okay, wouldn't wanna be overheard by the pillow stealing demon," Faith replied, wearing a smirk on her face.
"Enough about pillows already people, I wanna know what happened. Were you attacked by orcs?" Buffy demanded curiously. "Oh no, did we miss it?" she pouted, then looked around the camp as if she just realized something. "Hey, where is Gimli?" she asked, worriedly.
Faith, who was watching her father with an absentminded smile on her face froze. "Gimli?" she croaked. "What happened to Gimli? Where is he?"
Gloin sighed. He knew this wasn't something he could keep from them. He wouldn't do it even if he could - it was not in his nature to deceive his girls. He knew that this was what they did - they helped people fight evil, and it made him proud. Every time he heard of someone being rescued by two strangers wearing cloaks, he would feel a surge of pride run through him. They saved people and they did it without expecting thanks, gold, or even recognition.
He was proud to be their father. His was a race of proud warriors and his girls were the greatest warriors he had ever seen. He knew they would fight, he expected it, but he didn't have to like it. He was still a father, and the thought of his girls anywhere near Sauron and his damned ring was giving him a headache.
"Sit down girls, I have some grave news."
Faith paled and Buffy froze. "Where is Gimli?" Faith repeated slowly. Gloin could see he was going to have to start explaining soon because Faith was starting to get angry.
"He's fine, lass, at least last time I saw him he was. We parted a few months ag-"
"Why?" Faith interrupted rigidly, clenching her jaw with anger. Buffy stepped closer to her sister and put her hand on Faith's arm in a soothing gesture.
"We heard rumors that the one ring had resurfaced and was on its way to Rivendel," Gloin explained with a furrowed brow. "We decided it would be a wise course of action to visit Lord Elrond and see if the rumors were indeed the truth. When we arrived at Rivendel we were invited to a council where we were told the one ring had indeed been found and was currently in Rivendel."
Buffy took a sharp intake of breath. "I'm not gonna like this story am I?" she asked, pinching the bridge of her nose in a clear sign of stress.
Gloin sighed knowing they were definitely not going to like the rest of his story. "The decision of the council was to take the ring to Mordor and throw it into the fires of Mount Doom," he continued hesitantly. "The council chose to send a small fellowship of nine people to accomplish this task. Gimli was one of them."
Faith froze. "Gimli is going to Mordor? Does he have a fucking death-wish or something? What the hell is wrong with him?"
Buffy took a deep breath, clenching her fists in anger. "How long has it been?"
Gloin sighed tiredly. "Five months."
"FIVE MONTHS?" Buffy yelled pacing back and forth in agitation. "He could be dead by now, or maimed, or tortured into insanity. How could you just let him go on a suicide mission?"
Gloin frowned. "You know very well that my children never listen to anything I say," he said pointedly. "You and your sister are proof of that," he scowled. Gloin watched the distress on his daughters' faces and sighed tiredly. "I didn't want my only son to go, but this ring has to be destroyed. There is no one else I would trust with such an important task save you two."
Buffy stopped pacing and turned to her father. "I'm sorry, dad. I know this isn't your fault."
Gloin nodded in acceptance and patted her shoulder affectionately. "I understand, lass."
They both turned to look a Faith who had been uncharacteristically quiet. "Wat's on your mind, girl?" Gloin inquired gruffly.
"I'm thinkin' - I'm thinkin' Gimli won't have to worry about orcs killin' him by the time I catch up to his ass."
"You wanna go and follow the idiot," Buffy stated mater-of-factly.
Faith grinned widely. "Hell yeah! Might even get the chance to slay some orcs if we're lucky."
Buffy gave her a faint smile. "Sure, why not. I've been dying to have some fun of the slayage variety. I'm bursting with frustration of the sexual kind."
Gloin eyed her with confusion evident on his face. "What's that lass?"
Buffy startled and looked at her dad. "Nothing!" She choked before turning pink.
Faith chuckled mirthfully. "What she means to say is; she's bursting and needs to get some!"
"FAITH!" Buffy exclaimed in outrage, face still tinged with embarrassment.
Gloin was still looking at his girls with confusion. Sometimes, he didn't understand a word coming out of their mouths. It was like they were speaking their own language.
Faith grinned evilly. "Don't worry, Dad, its all good. The girl just needs to get stuffed, that's all."
Buffy choked on her own saliva, whilst Gloin's face brightened in understanding.
"Oh!" He exclaimed. "Now I understand..."
Faith's smile disappeared. "You do?" she asked uncertainly. 'Ah-oh' she thought anxiously. 'B is gonna kill me!'
"Yes, she needs to get stuffed. I could use a good stuffing myself," he grinned joyfully rubbing his belly. Faiths mouth dropped open and Buffy started coughing furiously. "Come on lass," he said smiling at Buffy. "We can both get stuffed."
He pointed at one of the dwarfs sitting by the fire, "You! Go, bring us something to eat! My girls need a good stuffing."
He turned to Buffy and critically looked her over. He turned back to the dwarf that was slowly getting up. "And bring lots of food, because she looks like she hasn't been stuffed in years."
Buffy turned beet red when she heard Faith mutter. "You got that right."