Buffy belongs to Joss. JRR Tolkien created Lord of the Rings, and it belongs to his estate. I'm not making any money, just playing with other people's toys.
The first sensation to return was pain. Agonizing, burning, relentless pain. She could feel that before she could even convince her eyes to open. Confusion came next. She had expected to be dead. She should be dead. If she wasn’t, that might mean Glory’s portal was still open. Her world was still in danger. She struggled to rise. No matter what, laying here wasn’t an option. She had to either die or keep fighting.
The fight was more immediate than she expected. She could feel something- no, someone- pushing her back down.
“No, do not try to move, lady,” a male voice rumbled.
She tried to focus. Her vision was blurry and dim- consciousness might not last very long, she realized. But she didn’t recognize the voice, and she needed to know if it belonged to friend or foe. It wasn’t Glory, at least.
The face that swam in and out of her view was not one she’d ever seen before, but it looked kind and concerned. She realized that she could hear other voices. Someone was yelling, but it didn’t make sense to her ears.
“Who?” she croaked.
“I am Theodred, son of Theoden. Lie still, lady, the healer will be here soon.”
“For all the good it will do,” someone muttered behind him.
“Peace, Eomer!” snapped Theodred.
Eomer did not stay quiet, but instead whirled to demand loudly where the healer was. That wasn’t a good sign. No one sounded that nervous when they were sure the person hurt was going to live.
Then there was blessed silence, aside from the buzzing in her own head. Trying to process what her eyes were seeing, she decided it was night, and she was on grass somewhere that was most definitely not Sunnydale.
“Can you tell me your name?” Theodred asked.
Could she? At that point, Buffy realized two things- first, that she could. Second, that it really wasn’t good if that seemed like a tough question.
“Buffy,” she managed to gasp.
Someone behind him- Eomer, maybe?- handed Theodred something.
“Drink, Lady Buffy,” Theodred instructed, holding something to her lips.
She did as he asked, hoping it was something that would make the pain stop. The burn of somthing alcoholic wasn’t quite what she’d hoped for, but she supposed if she drank enough, it would work.
“Dawn? My sister? Is she safe?” she blurted out, sure that unconsciousness was in her near future.
The last thing she saw before the darkness took over was the look of worry on Theodred’s face.---
The next time she woke up, there was less pain. She had a vague sensation she was lying on a giant marshmallow, wrapped in pillows.
“Ah, you’re awake at last, mystery lady,” a woman said.
Buffy found it much easier to focus this time, and her head seemed to be less fuzzy. The woman who had spoken had been sitting on a chair near the window, but had risen when she saw Buffy was awake. She looked to be about Buffy’s age, or possibly a little bit younger. It was hard to say, especially since her surprise and excitement made her look more girl than woman.
“Yeah, maybe I’ll get to stay awake this time,” Buffy muttered. “Where am I? And who are you?”
“You are at Edoras, in the house of my uncle the King,” the girl replied. “I am called Eowyn.”
Buffy would have moved her head to look more closely at Eowyn, but found it was braced.
“No, do not try to move, Lady Buffy,” Eowyn exclaimed. “Truly, it is a miracle you live, much less woke! My brother and cousin did not expect you to survive until they reached Edoras.”
“Ah, so you are related to Theodred and Eo… Eyo… Eeyore?” Buffy frowned. That wasn’t right. Wasn’t Eeyore a donkey? Where was Edoras? And why did everything here seem to be brought to her by the letter E?
“Eomer is my brother,” replied Eowyn with a giggle at the mangling of his name. “How did you come to be alone in the Westemnet? And what happened to you? Was it orcs that did this?”
Buffy decided immediately that honesty was not the best policy, at least not yet.
“I don’t remember,” she replied. “There was a fight, I know, and I remember thinking that I was dying. Then I remember Theodred telling me to lie still, and then I was here.”
Eowyn frowned in dismay as she checked over what Buffy realized were extensive bandages covering most of her body.
“Well, you are here now, however you came to be here, and the Valar must smile upon you, because it seems you will make liars of the healers who declared you were for the grave and dressing your wounds a waste of time.”
“That bad, huh?” Buffy asked, realizing that for her to have been so thoroughly unconscious, it probably had been. As tired as she still felt, after what looked to be at least a day out cold if the setting sun was anything to judge by, she must be pushing Slayer healing to its limits this time.
“The healer riding with my cousin’s eored did not think you would live even to the river crossing, let alone until Meduseld. He said he had never seen anyone so badly injured still breathing.”
Buffy would have shrugged if she could. Eowyn’s words about where they’d expected her to be dead by didn’t mean anything. She’d never heard of Meduseld, or Edoras. She was no geography expert, but they didn’t sound like anyplace in America she’d ever heard of. That, combined with the memory of the blazing hole in the sky she had dived into, led her to suspect she was no longer on planet Earth.
“Guess it wasn’t my time,” she said.
“You asked Eomer and Theodred if you sister was safe,” Eowyn began nervously, trailing off as she peered at Buffy to gauge her expression.
If these people were good enough to bring her home to take care of her even though they had expected her to die, they might well waste days searching the kingdom for Dawn if they thought she was out there somewhere. Buffy was sure her sister was still in Sunnydale, hopefully alive and unharmed.
“She must be. If she had been killed, she would have been with me,” Buffy told her, putting more conviction than she felt into her tone. “I’m sure she escaped with our friends. They must think I’m dead.”
Buffy would have to navigate this new world on her own. Remembering the weight of the world on her shoulders, she decided she wasn’t in a hurry to find her way home. Maybe here she’d finally be just a girl.