Greetings and Meetings
None of the characters and properties of Lord of the Rings
or Buffy: the Vampire Slayer
belong to me.
I’m very pleased that everyone understood my explanation of how things came to be. I have many crossover ideas, with very thorough explanations for each possibility (no settling for convenient portals for me), but I’m not so good at verbalizing the explanations. They all seem perfect in my thoughts, but when I try to get them out on screen…bleh.
Big thanks to all the reviewers, and thanks for all the readers for being patient with me. I really am sorry I can’t update as often as you all would like, but I believe in writing for myself first and foremost. If I lose the urge to write for a particular fic until a year or two later, then that’s what happens. I do appreciate reviewers and readers, though, especially those that stick with me to the very end. No matter how far off in the future that may be.
– A Buffy/Legolas? I personally love that ‘ship, it’s true, but I’ve seen too much of that
as well. And since I’m trying to go against the norm, no Legomance in this fic. I’ve got another male in mind for this little Slayer…mwahaha!
– Hehe, the practically immortal thing wasn’t for a romance, you know. Well, not just for a romance. It was because I didn’t want Buffy to miss all the fun! ;) You’ll see what I mean.
– Being ripped out of Heaven isn’t something one gets over just like that, but Buffy’s not going to be as far gone as she was in Season 6. I detested that Buffy, and she’ll have a little helper or two in Arda. As for Buffy’s skills and the time frame of this fic, you’ll see.
After the dream visit from Whistler, Buffy thought a lot.
Then she thought some more.
When she had been clueless as to the reason for her banishment from Heaven, when she had been consumed with fears that the banishment was permanent, that They didn’t want her there, that there was something wrong with her…all she could do was lay there and despair.
Now she knew. They had
wanted her. In fact, They had done their best to keep her. She needn’t keep wondering, fearing. And she could go back.
Yeah, okay, there was the extra-fast healing factor and the fact that she was probably super charged in speed and strength as well – but that didn’t mean she couldn’t
die. Whistler had said specifically that she was not truly immortal, only that she could heal so fast she didn’t age, and he had said that she would not survive death wounds.
Okay, specific death wounds, like getting her head chopped clean off.
She briefly wondered how much she could actually survive. Could she have her neck snapped and healed before her heart stopped pumping? Could she jump out of a plane, break all her bones and just spring back up?
Then she thought about that time when she’d almost been burned at the stake. If she’d possessed such rapid healing, and had actually been burned… Buffy shuddered at the thought of healing, only to burn, heal and burn over again in a continuous, agonizing cycle.
Maybe she had been better off without the healing factor boosted.
Well, there was nothing she could do about it now.
Buffy sighed, and, for the first time since her arrival in this world – Arda,
she remembered – looked at her surroundings.
The thought kept repeating in her head as she gazed around, then when she actually got up from the huge bed and peeked in the side door – which led to a bathing room – and the various drawers of cabinets and the vanity. They seemed very generous, her hosts.
Buffy pulled out a beautiful dress from the old fashioned and intricately designed closet and pulled it on. It was exactly her size, which confused her until she remembered her wormy funeral dress that they had confiscated before replacing it with the nightgown she wore now. She chose a pair of matching slippers, tugged them on, brushed her hair briefly with the comb provided, and opened the door.
There was no one outside standing guard, and Buffy took it as a good sign. At least she wasn’t a prisoner here. After peeking both ways down the open hall, Buffy slipped outside.
He spotted her from a long ways, having a good view from the tree branches he was nestled in.
She walked slowly, craning her neck this way and that, her hair swinging in tandem with her steps. He noted that she placed her feet carefully, cautiously, and though her arms were wrapped around herself, her shoulders were tense, ready for anything.
She was really very pretty, he thought. She wasn’t tall, but she was not an elf, so he supposed that it could be excused. His mother wasn’t as tall as the elves, though she was taller than this new person.
He liked her hair better than his mother’s, though, because she was the first non-elf that he had seen with gold hair like them.
And when she came closer, so that he could see her eyes, he liked those better than his mother’s, too, because they were green. He had never, ever seen green eyes before!
Thinking that he should say hello, since he liked so much about her, he clambered down from the tree.
Buffy had heard him as soon as he began to move, and her gaze had landed spot on. Apparently, it wasn’t just her healing and her strength that had gotten a boost; all
her senses were sharper, better.
He had shoulder-length dark hair, with gray eyes that flashed quicksilver in the sunlight. His stance was friendly as he approached her, a smile broad on his face. He was probably tall for his age, because his face was still round with baby fat, his eyes lit up with that innocence all children have, though he came up well past her elbow.
And he didn’t have deformed ears.
It was something she had noticed about the woman that delivered her meals – beautiful as she was, her ears were pointed. Buffy had thought it was a one-out-of-a-million affliction, but, so far, everyone who she had seen was as impossibly radiant – male or female – as that woman, and just as deformed. It wasn’t anything else, oh no, it was always only the ears.
This little boy was the one person she had seen who wasn’t very handsome or beautiful, with almost translucent clear skin. He was the one person she had seen who did not have those weird deformed ears that everyone seemed to have.
But he still seemed to speak their language, because he said something that sounded very musical, like the words that woman used whenever she came. Buffy actually caught some words, but became very confused.
If she didn’t know any better, she’d say he was saying something about his governor.
Of course, she didn’t
know any better, and it occurred to her after a moment, so Buffy shook her head to signal her incomprehension.
Immediately, he switched languages, to something not quite as musical, but she knew it wouldn’t work. An impossibly beautiful man had already tried more languages than she could possibly remember, and she had failed to understand any of those.
She shook her head again. "Sorry, little boy, I don’t understand you."
Undaunted, he pointed to himself and said clearly, "Estel."
"Estel." He pointed to himself again, looking hopefully up at her.
Was he trying to tell her his name?
Buffy pointed at him and asked carefully, "Estel?"
The young boy nodded enthusiastically, his face beaming into a full blown smile, and then pointed at her. He jabbered something that sounded like a question, pointed to himself and said his name once more, then said that same question phrase once more.
Or, at least, it sounded the same, and Buffy was relieved. It didn’t exactly take a genius to know what Estel meant this time.
Smiling slightly for the first time since her arrival at this place, she answered, "Buffy."
Estel beamed again.
Hours later, it was a much-improved Slayer that slipped back into her chambers.
As little children were wont to do, Estel had completely ignored their language barrier as a problem, stubbornly insisting on explaining his meaning to her with gestures. He was very smart and ingenious for his age, and he’d soon had her playing various games with him. Games, with rules that he managed to mime out for her each time, with an enthusiasm that did not waver as well as with great patience and kindness for his age.
In fact, his enthusiasm had been catching, and she had come very close to forgetting about her situation when in his company; it had been with great reluctance that she had left him to return to her room for lunch.
Soon, there came that telltale knock on the door, and the tall woman entered again, her gentle smile in place as she set her new tray of food down. The woman picked up the tray from breakfast, made a pleased noise at the lack of content, and moved to leave.
"Wait," Buffy said, and her voice seemed too loud to her own ears. She winced and cleared her throat before trying again. "Wait."
The woman, pausing in the doorway, had a look of complete surprise painted on her almost impossibly exquisite face. She said something melodious in her equally melodious voice, words that Buffy, of course, did not understand.
Still, from the intonation, Buffy deduced that it was a question of some sort.
"I, uh…" the Slayer paused, unsure of herself.
But then she remembered that little boy, Estel, and regained her determination. She couldn’t stay in this world for who knew how
long without understanding at least one of its many languages, now could she?
Better start simple,
Buffy thought. Sometimes kids were smarter than people gave them credit for, and she had a feeling Estel was one of those kids. Can’t go wrong with something that’s worked before.
Pointing to herself, she said as clearly as she could, "Buffy."
"Buh-fee," the woman repeated, her tongue not as dexterous as Estel’s young one. "Buhffy. Buffy."
Buffy nodded approvingly, pleased that the woman’s initially atrocious pronunciation had gotten clearer. The tall woman’s already beautiful face became positively radiant as she broke out into a pleased smile. She shifted the tray to one hand, then tapped herself on the chest a few times to indicate herself.
"Belóndra," she intoned. "Belóndra."
"Bell-on-drah," Buffy struggled with the musical name. It was worse than learning how to say French words with the proper accent back in high school. French was musical sounding it itself, but it had nothing on whatever language these people spoke. "Bell-own-drah."
"Belóndra," the woman repeated, enunciating each syllable.
After a lot more tries than it had taken the other woman to learn her
name, Buffy finally managed to pronounce the woman’s name without mangling it to extremes. When that point had been reached, Belóndra had made another pleased noise, smiling widely all the while.
"Thank you," Buffy said to Belóndra, although the other simply smiled in confusion. She was very grateful for the meals Belóndra had delivered faithfully three times a day, every day, and tried to communicate it as best she could. "Thank you."
Apparently, though she did not understand the words, Buffy’s earnest expression was enough, for Belóndra broke out into a humble smile, bowing her head slightly.
The beautiful woman took hold of Buffy’s hand and placed it onto Buffy’s chest, over her heart, her expression morphing into one of heartbreaking sadness. Then, Belóndra placed Buffy’s hand over her own chest, a sympathetic look on her face as she did so, and she nodded firmly.
Her mind whirling at the implications, Buffy managed to say again, "Thank you."
Smiling gently, Belóndra glided out of the room.
Glorfindel entered Elrond’s study, moving out the way of an elleth and bowing his head courteously to her in reply to her own bow.
A curious look on his handsome features, the elf-lord asked, "What were you speaking of?"
Elrond smiled deeply, and Glorfindel was startled at the relieved look in his old friend’s eyes.
"That was Belóndra. I had asked her to take meals to our guest when it became clear to me she would not seek out food for herself. Belóndra has revealed to me that our guest has spoken to her for the first time this afternoon. She said that our guest claimed her name was…Buffy," Elrond said the foreign word carefully, as he’d heard from the elf-maid.
"That’s what I wished to speak to you about," Glorfindel said, smiling. "It seems your guest took the liberty of exploring Imladris. Young Estel was quite enthusiastic about telling me of his morning playing with her."
"Playing with Estel…" Elrond’s eyebrows rose in surprise, even as his smile deepened the subtle lines of his face. It was good to know that, despite all evidence to the contrary, she was not lost forever as he had so feared would happen. "It seems she has recovered much in one night."
"One night?" Glorfindel asked. "Belóndra did not note a gradual change?"
"No," Elrond confirmed. "She said it seemed quite sudden. Last night, she said this…Buffy remained ever immersed in despair. But today…today was the first time she has even stepped out of her room."
"A good sign, then," Glorfindel said. "Curious, but a good sign nonetheless."
Elrond nodded in agreement, still smiling, "Men are resilient creatures."
There was no missing the great relief in his tone, and Glorfindel agreed, "They are. Why, if they weren’t, Estel wouldn’t be half as healthy as he is, with all the scrapes he’s managed to get himself into this year alone."
"Don’t remind me," Elrond groaned at the mention of his foster son’s more mischievous tendencies. "I swear he will age me more than the twins did during their days as elflings."
Glorfindel laughed, and the conversation turned to lighter topics as the hour passed.